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NY racing board pulls licenses

Race-fixing plot, mob ties alleged

NEW YORK -- The state Racing and Wagering Board yesterday suspended the racing licenses of three horsemen, including a reputed member of the Gambino organized crime family, who were linked to a plot to fix a horse race by doping one of the animals.

The doping was among crimes alleged in a crackdown on sports gambling that has resulted in charges against 17 defendants, authorities said.

A federal indictment claims that Gerald Uvari, licensed by the state as a horse owner since 1992, is a member of the Gambino family and was the boss of "the Uvari Group," a conspiracy of 15 partners who operated an illegal sports gambling business that included betting on horses.

The other two horsemen suspended were Gregory Martin, a trainer since 2001 and an authorized agent since August, and Rene Poulin, a harness driver since 1988.

The indictment claims the Uvari group fixed a Dec. 18, 2003 race at Aqueduct Race Track by giving a Martin-trained horse a performance-enhancing substance, federal prosecutors said.

The horse -- A One Rocket -- won.

The horse race was part of an indictment that portrayed a sprawling gambling operation that processed more than $200 million in bets over four years.

The defendants were accused of taking bets on horse racing and other sporting events as law enforcement authorities capped a two-year probe into the gambling operation in New York, Florida, California, and Nevada.

Charges included gambling conspiracy, money laundering, horse-doping conspiracy, loan sharking, and wire fraud. If convicted, nine of the defendants could face life in prison while the others could face 10 to 20 years in prison.

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