06/01/2012 5:10PM

Judge rules Pena suspension stands for now


A New York Supreme Court judge on Friday denied a motion to prevent the New York State Racing and Wagering Board from enforcing an indefinite suspension it issued last week to harness trainer Lou Pena, according to one of Pena’s attorneys.

Supreme Court Judge Vincent Reilly of Schenectady County denied the motion until “on or before June 22,” according to Pena’s attorney, Todd Engel, in order to give lawyers for the two sides time to issue additional responses. Until that time, Pena’s suspension will remain in force.

Pena’s attorneys filed the motion for a temporary restraining order on Thursday, hoping to get the suspension lifted until Pena can appear before the racing and wagering board for a hearing. The motion argued that the suspension has “irrefutably and irreparably harmed [Pena’s] ability to earn a living,” and it stated that the board’s decision was “done arbitrarily and capriciously and without notice” or “an opportunity to be heard.”

Pena, a leading harness trainer for the past three years, was suspended last Thursday after the board charged him with 1,719 violations of the state’s racing rules. The violations were all based on an examination of veterinary records for Pena’s horses over a 28-month period.

The board had initially scheduled a hearing for May 30, but that hearing was adjourned until a date-to-be-determined to allow Pena’s attorneys time to prepare a defense.

“We stand behind our statement that at the end of the day Mr. Pena will be fully vindicated,” Engel said on Friday.