The New York Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of trainer Lou Pena and in the process rejected the various arguments made by the NYS Gaming Commission in their appeal of an October 2 decision where the Supreme Court ordered the state to dismiss all Pena charges. Pena attorney Andrew Turro explained the decision in that the court “determined that the Gaming Commission is not entitled to take any action with respect to all charges that previously had been dismissed on Constitutional grounds.” Turro continued to say, “We believe the Court’s determination is correct and consistent with the law and we are gratified that Lou Pena can continue to train horses and pursue his livelihood.” In the latest – and perhaps final – of all rulings that have favored Pena, this one specifically took into consideration the findings of the state appointed Hearing Officer from a three-day administrative hearing from August 2012. Speaking to a grateful and relieved Pena, the trainer said “I now just want to be reinstated (everywhere) and be like a normal person I was before. I want to get back to work and it hasn’t been easy with a cloud hanging over my head everywhere I go.” This has been a long road for Pena since his abrupt suspension in May 2012. Says Pena, “I hope this is now over; I just want this whole fight to be over with because I’m still not even sure how I got into this position. Someone decided to run with whatever they chose to convict me of. There’s obviously animosity and the state has their right to investigate and request information from me – that’s their standing – but if I comply with the rules and have done everything asked then I think I should be handed back the baton and say go ahead, run.” Since Pena’s initial reinstatement this past February he has been racing primarily at the Pennsylvania tracks of Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah’s Philadelphia. However, both of those tracks will shortly be closing for the winter which presents a potential issue for Pena. “Obviously I still don’t have many blessings to go to many racetracks but I will apply out and hopefully go somewhere and race,” said Pena. While Pena has had recent starters racing in New York at Saratoga, Yonkers still remains an unknown. “I really hope I can now get back at Yonkers because I loved racing there; Yonkers was always a good track to me,” said Pena. “I couldn’t race at the other New York tracks (Tioga, Vernon) due to a conflict with the owner (Jeff Gural). It’s his track and property and he can do what he wants, but here’s the thing: I never broke any rules. I’ve never been to his track and broke a rule because I’ve never even been allowed. I actually tried to meet with him once and ironically enough I got suspended the very day that he gave me an appointment to go see him in person in his New York City office.” When asked if he would still be willing to meet with Gural, Pena replied “Absolutely I would meet with him, absolutely. I would have nothing but pleasure to at least meet him in person and introduce myself to him.” Pena concluded by saying that, “I hope today’s ruling opens doors for me in the near future and that I’m not perceived as a criminal or a bad guy. I haven’t had any problems or issues with recklessness and have done everything asked of me when defending myself against these allegations. It’s time for everyone to move on and I can get back to work.” By, Brett Sturman Courtesy of RACING BEARD
This is the first Thursday of the New Meadowlands era, and the pick 4 features divisions of the Super Bowl and White Ruffles. Here are some thoughts to consider, followed by a pick 4 ticket.
When Lady Sorro trotted to her fourth win of the year this past Monday at Yonkers, the winner's share from the $10,000 claiming event sent 2011 harness racing earnings for the VIP Stable to over $2.5 million.
In the coming days and weeks this column will assess the most hotly contested races for year end divisional honors. In looking at the 3YO pacing fillies, will Drop The Ball's furious late season charge be enough to catch the once invincible See You At Peelers?
In the coming days and weeks this column will assess the most hotly contested races for year end divisional honors. Starting with what could be the closest race of all, I'll make the case for Economy Terror to nose out American Jewel for two year old Filly Pacer of the Year.
Saturday's Breeders Crown at Woodbine has the potential to be one of the most memorable cards in harness racing history from top to bottom, and race thoughts were too great to keep to myself. Seeking further counsel from the very best amateur expert of WEG racing that I know, handicapper Ken Perry and I had the following exchange for the upcoming Breeders Crown.
Today Brett shares his picks for the Super Stakes Sunday pick 4 at Chester.
Who would have thought that in this week leading up to the signature event in all of harness racing, the Hambletonian would only be the second most talked about story. The first one is the developing news coming out of Yonkers, and as the unspoken P word continues to be stricken from every book and tablet at the Westchester County racetrack, here are thoughts and analysis for some of the richer races this Hambletonian day at the Meadowlands.
With only 18 and 19 entries for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks respectively, what the stakes may lack in quantity is made up for in quality. With the likes of Cry's Dream, Blue Porsche, Chapter Seven and Manofmanymissions all going postward Saturday, here are some thoughts and analysis on the quartet of elimination races.
In yet another Harnesslink exclusive - live action as it happens from the Meadowlands. Brett Sturman - North America's leading harness racing analyst will be Harnesslink's man - 'Johnny on the Spot' - at the Meadowlands in New Jersey tomorrow (Saturday American and Canada time - Sunday New Zealand and Australia time) .
Eliminations last weekend for the Meadowlands Pace confirmed we may not be dealing with the fastest 3YO's seen in recent memory. Whereas the three Pace eliminations last year went in 1:48:4, 1:47:4 and Rock N Roll Heaven's 1:47:3, no one last Saturday could break harness racing's magical 1:50 barrier.
Ranging from the Pena Rule at Yonkers, to the See You At Peelers - Zenyatta comparison and the Meadowlands Pace eliminations, following are some thoughts from one of the more eventful harness racing weekends this year.
The new $0.50 cent Pick 5 debuts this Saturday at the Meadowlands and winning a simple 9 races in a row will take down both the Pick 5 (races 1-5) and the Pick 4 (races 6-9). Below is detailed analysis for the Pick 4 sequence as well as a bonus "quick takes" for the new Pick 5. Good luck, and have a great 4th of July holiday!
Through the first half of 2011 the VIP Internet Stable is on a blistering pace to shatter its own records for wins and earnings in a year by a public partnership group. The harness racing group rocketed out of the gate in the otherwise ordinarily slow winter months to garner repeated Open and Stake wins at multiple major tracks. This has been a record breaking season for VIP and it's about to get that much better.
Brett Sturman, a client relations manager at VIP Stable and columnist for Harnesslink.com will be "tweeting" all day this Sunday live from Harrah's Chester Casino & Racetrack.
Many of the usual suspects will be out of town for at least part of the weekend, but it looks like the Meadowlands has managed to put together a couple of highly competitive harness racing cards for Friday and Saturday. With lofty Pick 4 guarantees both nights, below are some thoughts to perhaps consider regarding the sequences.