NYRA Pari-Mutuel Clerk Humanely Euthanized Out Behind Barn
By Cecily Bapp
Published September 4h, 2016
Photo illegally swiped from some guy posing as Matt Wade
SARATOGA SPRINGS — A pari-mutuel clerk at Saratoga Racetrack whose register drawer was missing more than $117,000 last month was apparently vanned off to an undisclosed location away from visitors and immediately euthanized, the Smudge has learned.
Vinnie Badaboom used funds from his drawer Aug. 17 to place his own losing bets for the better part of the day, law enforcement officials said.
Human Rights Watch, which monitors clerk deaths at racetracks nationwide, reports Badaboom is the sixteenth clerk to have been humanely ‘put down’ this season. Last year, 13 clerks were euthanized for a variety of offenses, and 11 clerks in 2014 were put down.
“It’s inevitable that there will be casualties,” said NYRA spokesman Joseph Badaboom, no relation to Vinnie. “Pari-mutuel clerk deaths are inherit to horse racing, and with so many races and so much cash changing hands, the number of clerk deaths is actually quite low.
“Saratoga remains one of the safest racetracks in America for pari-mutuel clerks, mainly out of sheer fear instilled by the Racing and Gaming Commission,” the spokesman added. “But people, particularly clerks, are unpredictable around so much cash.”
Human Rights Watch, which has staged a number of protests this season at Saratoga, disagrees.
“We acknowledge that clerks sometimes steal, but we deplore the current track practice of ‘vanning off,’” the group said in a prepared statement. “Isn’t it possible to simply arrest these offenders? Human Rights Watch condemns the practice of automatic euthanization of these fucking idiots caught with their hand in the till.”
When contacted by the Smudge, track officials — who were preparing for this year’s final weekend of racing, which includes the traditional track barbecue and handgun giveaway held on the season’s last day— declined comment.