Controversial North American harness racing trainer Lou Pena can train and own racehorses again. The 44-year-old had his licence reinstated today (Wednesday February 27) by the New York Gaming Commission.
His lawyer Andrew Turro broke the news to Harnesslink soon after leaving the hearing at the Supreme Court of New York in Schenectady County.
"Good timing. The decision only just came out. The order was just signed and as of this moment Lou can train, own and drive horses again. But we are not getting our hopes too high at this early stage.
"The Commission could appeal the decision. No news is good news at this stage, but they have 30-60 days to lodge an appeal.
"But for now Lou can earn a livelihood again. Every American citizen should have that right, especially when he was never found guilty for anything.
"I feel great. Lou is no longer in limbo. He can now do what he does best," Turro told Harnesslink.
Pena trained his last racehorse at Harrah's Philadelphia on May 24 last year. He was suspended indefinitely by the New York Racing & Wagering Board for allegedly drugging horses in nearly 700 races in New York State- and in doing so he amassed more than 1,700 equine drug violations.
He was denied a ‘stay of proceedings' by the Board in July and then from August 29-31 his case was heard by a neutral judge in New York.
As of February 1, the NYRWB now operates under the arm of the commission.
Turro, a prominent New York lawyer, said this had been one of his most satisfying cases.
"The man did nothing wrong and I think the judge realised that. I'm not getting my hopes too high because they do have the right to appeal.
"Lou has been an innocent victim in this for too long and justice was done.
"I'm just pleased he can train racehorses again because he is great at what he does. It also means he can join forces again with his former owners.
"I just want him to get his life back. This was a very satisfying case and I just hope and pray that there is no appeal so he can continue to be one of this country's best trainers of standardbreds," Turro said.
Footnote: Harnesslink has an exclusive with Lou Pena coming.
By Duane RANGER (editor)