12/28/2017 11:36AM

Pennsylvania commission revokes license of Penn National trainer


The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission has revoked the license of a Penn National-based trainer after an investigation by the regulatory body revealed that the trainer failed to properly care for horses in his barn, according to a ruling posted on the commission’s website.

The revocation, issued in a ruling dated Dec. 19, was approved several weeks after the commission had suspended trainer Mario Rafael Rodriguez for 45 days due to the neglect of a horse in his barn, Silent Ruler. The Dec. 19 revocation cited Silent Ruler and four other horses, including two that died this year following starts in Pennsylvania, as evidence that Rodriguez “allowed horses under his care and control to be subjected to mistreatment, neglect, and/or abuse.”

“The Bureau Director finds that Mario Rodriguez’s experience and general fitness as a trainer/owner presents a clear and ongoing danger to the remaining number of horses under his control and his qualifications as a trainer are inconsistent with the best interests of racing,” the revocation order reads.

Rodriguez has had a training license since 1998, according to Equibase records, but he did not start a meaningful number of horses until 2001. He has had a lower-than-average win percentage for his career – 5.1 percent, from 1,983 career starts – and this year he had only five wins from 215 starts at the time of his license revocation, with purse earnings of $148,473.

The ruling states that Rodriguez will be given 10 days to file an appeal of the ruling. After Dec. 22, he was to be banned from all racetracks in the state.

Under a practice called reciprocity, Rodriguez will be banned from entering horses at all other racetracks in the United States unless a racing commission approves a new license application submitted by the trainer, an unlikely prospect in the next several years.