Day At The Track

Pena is back training - 'Thank-you Pocono'

10:24 AM 26 Apr 2013 NZST
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Lou Pena
Lou Pena

Controversial California harness racing trainer Lou Pena is back, and although he's yet to train a winner in two starts it's only a matter of time before we see the 44-year-old back in the winner's circle again.

Pena has one horse in work and other standardbreds are expected to arrive at his New Jersey base within the next month.

Pena hasn't trained a winner since scoring with Poor House at Mohegan Sun Pocono on May 23 last year. Ironically that is the same track which welcomed him back into the racing fold.

The Pena trained and George Napolitano Jr driven Well Done Hanover has had two starts on the track -finishing third on the ninth race on April 17 and sixth yesterday (Wednesday April 24) in race 11.

"It's great to be back. I'm delighted and thankful that the Pocono Downs officials let me race on their track. I will be applying to other tracks to race there too.

I am slowly building up my team now. I also have a 2-year-old but Well Done Hanover is the only one racing for now. I might purchase some of my own and I'm also looking for clients who want top 10 horses.

"I have a few clients already but would like more. I'm grateful to people like Howard Taylor who believed in me and stuck by me. He owns Well Done Hanover.

"You have to remember I have done nothing wrong, and I'm so pleased to be back training horses again. I sort of feel free again," Pena told Harnesslink.

Pena was slammed with an indefinite suspension last year by the New York State Racing and 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 trained his last racehorse at Harrah's Philadelphia on May 24 last year. He was suspended indefinitely by the New York Racing & Wagering Board.

Pena 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.

In late February his attorney got his New York license reinstated by a New York court because the NYSRWB never issued a ruling following Pena's hearing.

Well Done Hanover (Real Artist - Wonder Hanover - No Nukes) has won seven of his 19 starts and $34,127 largely for initially Jamie Copley (Ontario) and Daniel Taylor (New Jersey) since January this year.

His quickest mile is 1:58.2.

"He's a nice horse but I'm looking for stake horses now. No more big teams for now. I want quality over quantity -perhaps a stable of no more than 20," Pena said.

Pena said he was feeling "nice and positive", despite still having many detractors out there.

When asked if he had a message for people who still believed he was a cheat, Pena replied:

"God bless them. Be positive! You can't keep a good man down. If I keep focusing on my enemies I will lose focus on my training. If that happens I'd be better off taking a nap."

Pena said he wanted people to know that he was back - and he was now well on the road to getting back to where he wanted to be in life.

"People know I can train racehorses and I know I can train racehorses - that's good enough for me. There is too much negative in the industry without people having to worry about me.

"I'm just determined to get a good 2 or 3yo stake horse. That's what I want. I want to be back winning the big races again," Pena said.

Pena expects to increase his team over the next couple of weeks.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

Pocono Downs track history video:

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