A few years ago trainer Lou Pena was winning races in bunches and on top of the world. He made it to the Meadowlands Pace final in 2010 with Nova Artist and was all smiles all the time. But in 2012 the allegations began. He was accused of 1,719 violations of New York racing rules.
Pena was sent to the sidelines. He was stripped of his profession and he had no idea what the road ahead had in store. Would he ever be permitted to train again? How would he make a living?
On February 27 a state court ruled that Pena will once again be allowed to put the equipment on a horse and send them to the track; at least temporarily. The New York Gaming Commission could attempt to block the order or they could rule on Pena’s original hearing which took place back in August of last year.
“I'm excited. It is really good news,” said Pena from California. “This has been a long time coming. My attorney did a fabulous job.”
Although Pena is now eligible to race in New York, there is still no guarantee that the privately owned Yonkers Raceway, where he was the leading trainer, would welcome the 44-year-old conditioner with open arms. Fortunately they will have some time to mull it over. Pena is planning to stay in California for the next couple of months and apply for a license to race at Cal Expo before the possibility of returning to the Empire State. Perhaps turned off by his recent legal issues, he may even change breeds.
“I may try to train Thoroughbreds,” said Pena. “I think they are a good fit for me as far as routine. I have only dabbled in Thoroughbreds in the past, so I’ll probably try to train both (breeds). I'm not going to be able to come out and train 100 Thoroughbreds like I did in harness.”
For now Pena is enjoying the warm weather in California, savoring his victory and wondering what his future will entail.
“I haven't contacted anybody yet, but it might be a struggle,” said Pena on returning to prominence on the east coast. “Everyone will be skeptical. Without any certainty, no owner is going to be willing to put money into a stable.”
http://www.drf.com/news/harness-racing- ... fornia-now
Seems like a nice enough guy from his smile, but 1719 Violations make the drug guys in CA thoroughbreds look like choir boys