The horses broke from the gate, and Pizzi kept Spread the Word back in sixth until the three bribed riders holding their horses began to slow the pace. He then swung Spread the Word to the outside and passed the three live horses to win by an easy, but unsuspicious, length and a half. Each $3 trifecta ticket paid $762.90, and the runners brought back more than $80,000.
Two weeks later, on Feb. 22, the stewards scratched Spread the Word from the ninth race at Garden State. Someone had tipped them that Ciulla really owned the horse, not the owner whose name appeared on the papers.
In the first week of August 1975, New Jersey state police issued a warrant for Ciulla's arrest. But for almost four months he eluded Jersey and federal authorities. "Part of the time I was on the lam, Campo got me on the backstretch at Belmont Park and Saratoga," Ciulla says. "We even traveled around peddling horses." Campo denies Ciulla's assertions, but he declined to be interviewed about his relationship with Ciulla when asked about specifics involving the sale of horses.
While he was a fugitive, Ciulla had Heed the Call, Lady Dunce and Star Game, all registered under Fred Meagher's ownership, flown to Bay Meadows in California. In San Francisco, Ciulla learned that the FBI had him under surveillance, so a few days before Thanksgiving he decided to fly back to Philadelphia to fix races in that area. While in a United Airlines waiting room, he peered over his Racing Form and saw 10 conservatively dressed men watching him. When he handed over his ticket at the check-in, the clerk winked, and 10 law-enforcement agents, including several from the FBI, drew their pistols and shoved him against a partition.
The FBI, which had evidence that Ciulla had flown horses to Bay Meadows "for the purpose of interstate racketeering and sports bribery," returned him to New Jersey, where he was wanted. When he was offered his deal, he says he thought about those who would escape entirely if he didn't talk, "the big guys who train horses that Latin American drug dealers secretly own, the fence straddlers who want it both ways. They cheat, conspire and still drink in the Turf Club."
So Tony Ciulla talked and is talking. And a lot of people in racing are worrying.