Horse Racing

Churchill Downs Tracks Temporarily Ban Trainer Burton Sipp Due To Welfare, Integrity Concerns


Presque Isle Downs

Trainer Burton Sipp, a longtime presence on the East Coast claiming circuit, has been temporarily suspended at all Churchill Downs facilities, according to Tonya Abeln, vice president of communications for CDI.

“CDI has elected to temporarily suspend Burton Sipp, and any trainer either directly or indirectly employed by him, from entering horses and occupying stalls at all CDI-owned racetracks, including Presque Isle Downs, until further notice,” said Abeln via email. “The suspension is a result of concerns over the care and treatment of his horses and the decision was made in the best interests of racing to protect the safety and integrity of racing and its participants.”

Sipp had most recently been running horses at CDI-owned Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Penn. He is based at Mountaineer Park in New Cumberland, WVa.

Sipp has been the subject of an online petition seeking a ban at all racetracks in the United States, due to what the petition’s organizers say is a long history of Sipp-owned and trained horses ending up advertised on social media for last-ditch purchase from kill pens or bail pens. He also has a lengthy history of trouble with the law, including a 1983 case in which he was indicted for fraud after law enforcement said he had killed horses for insurance money. Sipp maintained his innocence and eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of witness tampering. In 1980, he was caught in a race fixing scheme at Atlantic City Race Course and later turned witness against four jockeys who were indicted on charges related to race fixing in New Jersey. Those charges were later dropped.

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