02/02/2018 12:30PM

Pennsylvania commission rescinds several suspensions

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The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission has rescinded a handful of suspensions it doled out to trainers and owners who challenged broad subpoenas the commission issued last year, according to copies of the rulings provided by the licensees’ attorney.

The rulings, issued Jan. 30, affect the owner-trainers Marcos Zulueta, Juan Carlos Guerrero, and Silvio Martin as well as the owners Sean Mitchell and Amber Schrank. The rulings do not cite a reason for the decisions, but state that the licenses of all of the individuals have been “returned to good standing.”

The orders were issued three weeks after a Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania judge issued a stay of the suspensions, citing her belief that the licensees had a “reasonable” chance to win their appeal of the suspensions. The judge also questioned the commission’s authority to issue subpoenas that covered a broad range of records.

The subpoenas issued last year sought nearly three years of financial, veterinary, and communication records from the licensees in an investigation that was said to be seeking evidence about hidden ownership and so-called “paper trainers.” The licensees challenged the subpoenas, which their attorney, Alan Pincus, characterized as a “fishing expedition.”

Officials with the commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pincus said on Friday that he believed the suspensions were rescinded because the commission did not feel it could prevail in the appeal by the licensees, given the recent court ruling. But he also said he believed the commission may be preparing new subpoenas that are more limited in scope.

“Obviously, the stay ruling was so powerful that they knew they weren’t going to be overturned,” Pincus said. “If they want to proceed, they are going to have to resend the subpoenas or just give up.”