Harness racing trainer Luis Pena has been banned from the sport for illegally drugging horses more than 1700 times, according to the New York State Gaming Commission. Regulators issued a $343,000 fine and three-year ban for his violations.
An investigation into Pena’s alleged violations began in 2012. The commission determined he raced illegally drugged harness horses between January 2010 and April 2012. A thorough review of veterinary records uncovered 1,717 equine drug violations. Included were various substances, most of which were administered outside the allotted time permitted by the rules. The drugs included the hormone ACTH, multiple steroids, Clenbuterol, Robaxin, and others.
Regulators said most of the drugging involved races at Yonkers Raceway but included some at the Saratoga and Tioga harness tracks in upstate New York.
“We are pleased that this case has finally come to a close and that Mr. Pena is being held responsible for his actions,” Commission Executive Director Robert Williams said. “The Commission takes all allegations of administrations of illegal substances seriously and will continue to uphold the integrity of racing in New York State.”
According to the commission, after a subsequent hearing and adjudication, Pena and his attorney pursued various legal attempts, none of which were successful. Pena never testified to deny the allegations.