A broken, distraught and very tearful man. That was the best way to describe Sacramento (California) based harness racing trainer Lou Pena just hours after he had his licence suspended by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for allegedly 1,700 equine drug violations in nearly 700 races.
“It’s wrecking me up inside. I only found out the news today and I’ve been crying like a bitch since. I am seriously lost. I don’t want to quit training. It is all I know.
“What am I to do now – mow lawns? It has been a witch hunt – a very targeted witch hunt to get me out of the game. Do they just want me to walk to the nearest cliff and jump off it?
“I have no plans. I don’t even know if my filly can race in a $100,000 race at Chester on Sunday,” a tearful Pena told Harnesslink last night (Thursday May 24).
The 43-year-old said all he could do was gather his thoughts and leave the rest with his solicitor.
“I will be going to see my lawyer tomorrow. Of course I will be appealing. I have done nothing wrong. I know that,” Pena said.
In yesterday’s Harnesslink article the New York State Racing and Wagering Board said the Pena investigation was both ground-breaking and comprehensive.
As a result Pena faces a possible revocation of his license to participate in New York State and substantial fines (up to $25,000 per violation). The Board's overall investigation into the matter is on going and further actions, including the recovery of more than $2.5 million in purse monies won with horses that were illegally drugged and possible rule changes regarding access and disclosure of veterinary records, are possible.
Pena regularly raced horses between New York while stabling them in New Jersey. New York formed a partnership with New Jersey which allowed for a joint review of veterinarian records.
He has been suspended on the following 15 charges:
1) Fraud and Misrepresentation.
2) Adrenocorticotropic (ACTH), hormone.
3) Betamethasone (Celestone), steroid.
4) Clenbuterol (Ventipulman).
5) Cromolyn Sodium, NonsteroidalAnti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID).
6) Fircoxib, NSAID.
7) Flumethasone, Steroid.
8) Glycopyyplate (Robinul).
9) Gonadorelin or GnRH (factrel) hormone.
10) Hyaluronic Acid derivative.
11) Joint injection of steroid (Celestone).
12) Joint injection of steroid(Cortistone).
13) Levothyroxine, hormone.
14) Methocarbamol (eg: Robaxin)
15) Magnesium Sulfate (Mag).
Pena said he had never had one positive return and still hasn’t.
“These are all vet reports from my horses. There is nothing illegal about them. It’s all here-say. It’s like saying I’m four foot tall and I take a 55 size shoe. Come on.
“Why are they doing this to me? If they are trying to wreck me they are succeeding,” Pena said.
One thing he did know was that Pena was going to go back home to California to farewell his two children who were flying to Australia.
“You know right now I feel like getting on that plane and going with them and never coming back. Let them sort their own sh## out.
“But I’ll no doubt face them. I’ve even got a meeting with Jeff Gural next week. I thought that was good of him to give me his time,” Pena said.
He was still confident he would have the last laugh.
“I know I’m innocent and I know for a fact that every person who is on to me they have skeletons in the cupboard too. No-one is pure like Jesus Christ,” Pena said.
Pena currently works ateam of 55-60. He said the best of them at present was Western terror 4-year-old gelding – Sea venture (1:51 – 13 wins and $337,987.)
Pena’s hearing with the NewYork State Racing and Wagering Board has been scheduled for May 30.
by Duane RANGER (editor)