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Friday, January 14
'Horse doping' among charges against 17 indicted

OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- Thoroughbred owner Gerald Uvari and trainer Greg Martin were two of the 17 people indicted on fraud and conspiracy charges Thursday in Manhattan federal court as part of an alleged multimillion-dollar illegal gambling operation that brokered more than $200 million in bets on horse racing and other sports and fixed a race at Aqueduct in 2003.

It was not immediately clear whether any of the accused had entered pleas. The U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York reported that arraignments would be scheduled over the next few days.

According to the indictment, Uvari ran the illegal gambling business along with his brother Cesare Uvari and Gerald Uvari's son Anthony Uvari. All three are described as being associates of the Gambino organized crime family.

The indictment said one of Uvari's partners, David Applebaum, who formerly held a license as a Thoroughbred owner, participated in a scheme to fix a race at Aqueduct by what the indictment calls "horse doping."

According to the indictment, Applebaum, Martin, and Rene Poulin, a harness trainer, devised and executed a plan to fix the first race at Aqueduct on Dec. 18, 2003, by giving the horse A One Rocket a performance-enhancing substance just before the race. The substance was not identified.

A One Rocket, owned by the IEAH Stables, won that race by 10 lengths as the 9-5 second choice. The indictment charges that Applebaum placed bets over the phone "and encouraged others to place bets on the artificially enhanced horse."

Martin claimed A One Rocket on Dec. 13 for $7,500 from Lisa Lewis. Five days later, Martin ran A One Rocket for a claiming tag of $12,500, and the horse improved his Beyer Speed Figure 28 points to a 103 in the 10-length victory.

Martin, 37, could be sentenced for as many as 25 years in prison on counts of horse-doping, conspiracy, and wire fraud.

Martin is the son of Hall of Fame trainer Frank Martin. Greg Martin's brother Jose and his nephew Carlos are also trainers on the New York circuit.

Martin is currently enjoying one of his finest meets, having saddled seven winners from 20 starters since the inner track at Aqueduct opened last month.

A spokesman for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board said the board wanted to review the indictments before commenting.

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