For Immediate Release
MADIGAN, WILL COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY, ILLINOIS RACING BOARD, AND ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE ANNOUNCE GUILTY PLEA IN RACEHORSE DOPING CASE
Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today joined Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow, the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) and the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR), in announcing that a Will County man has been sentenced in connection with two separate post-race incidents involving his racehorse and an illegal drug banned from horseracing.
On Wednesday, January 24, 2007, Judge Richard C. Schoenstedt sentenced Donald M. Paulik, of rural Beecher, to 24 months of first offender probation on two counts of possession of the controlled substance, etorphine, as part of a plea agreement. The criminal case followed administrative proceedings that resulted in the loss of Paulik’s racing license and $10,000 in fines.
Paulik’s case stems from the discovery that his thoroughbred racehorse, Texas Tree, was injected with etorphine prior to taking first place in races on October 21, 2005, and November 3, 2005, at Hawthorne Race Track. The subsequent execution of a search warrant obtained by IDOR Inspector James Oliver on Paulik’s Will County residence and ranch yielded an additional quantity of suspected etorphine.
Etorphine, sometimes referred to as “elephant juice”, is a banned substance under IRB Racing Rules as well as a controlled substance under state and federal law. It has a valid but limited use in the immobilization of large animals such as elephants. However, horseracing authorities have long been aware of the fact that, in very small quantities, the drug works as a stimulant in racehorses and can illegally improve the chances of a horse winning a race. Etorphine should only be handled by licensed veterinarians with a legitimate animal patient and application. Human exposure to even small amounts of the drug can prove fatal without taking the proper precautions.
The IRB and the IDOR conducted the investigation. Assistant Attorney General Grant Swinger of Madigan’s Statewide Grand Jury Bureau and Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Knick prosecuted the case. The Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine also provided assistance in the case.