Photo Courtesy of WHOA
Ronnie Gurfein, inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2006, has joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) in support of the Horseracing Integrity Act now before Congress. Gurfein, who specialized in trotters versus pacers, had an illustrious career spanning almost six decades. He trained horses for some of the Standardbred industry’s most powerful and influential people and his stable always ranked as one of the nation’s top money earners.
In a statement to the Water Hay Oats Alliance, Gurfein said;
“There aren’t many that love horse racing more than I do. For me it started with Kelso and Beau Purple, Une de Mai and Nevele Pride. I was an equal opportunity fan. As a trainer for nearly sixty years, I have learned that the elimination of performance enhancing drugs is not just important, it is a necessity. The world is looking at us now and not through rose-colored glasses. The media is relentless regarding any negativity. What can we do? Slow down! Stopping all PED’S and improving race track surfaces will successfully put PETA and the like on a shelf where they can be seen and not heard. These drugs are not only a detriment to our horses but to jockeys, drivers, exercise boys and girls and trainers. Eliminating pain in an unsound horse is a recipe for disaster. As I say often in my column don’t put your head in the sand if you see something, say something. If the powers that be are afraid to make waves, we should. The amount of positive tests that are of any importance are minuscule. We have had a load of environmental nonsense positives to deal with. Bicarb and EPO testing is the answer and with all the money in the sport that there still is no worthwhile test in place is ridiculous.I have truly seen a decline in super performances in recent months so maybe we have instilled some fear in the culprits, but to win we must keep the pressure on and increase policing and out of competition testing and most of all lower the bicarb level standards.For these reasons I support the Water Hay Oats Alliance.”
During his career, Gurfein trained seven world-record-holding horses: Franconia, Cayster, My Starlet, Imperfection, Beat The Wheel, Continentalvictory, and Self Possessed and three Hambletonian winners: Victory Dream (1994), Continentalvictory (1996) and Self Possessed (1999). Along with his Hambletonian wins he has won six Breeder Crowns, American National, Merrie Annabel, World Trotting Derby, Kentucky Futurity, Yonkers Trot and many other major stakes. In 1999, Gurfein was honored with the Trainer of the Year title. Horses trained by him have won multiple champion Dan Patch Awards.
Since his retirement from training, Gurfein has taken on a position as turf writer. His columns appear regularly in Harness Racing Update where he discusses issues of interest in Standardbred Racing; from horses, people, restaurants, novels and more.