02/27/2013 4:56PM

Suspended harness trainer Pena gets temporary license


Lou Pena, the New Jersey-based harness trainer who was charged in 2012 with 1,719 violations of New York racing rules, had his license temporarily reinstated on Wednesday after a state court ruled that a state regulators were taking an “unreasonable amount of time” to consider his case, according to his attorney, Andrew Turro.

The ruling will allow Pena to train horses unless the New York Gaming Commission is successful in blocking the order, Turro said, or the gaming commission rules on an administrative hearing conducted in August, last year, regarding the violations.

“For the time being, Lou is back in business, which is where he should be,” Turro said. “That being said, I need to stress that this is temporary.”

Lee Park, a spokesman for the New York Gaming Commission, said that the board “is reviewing the situation.” He noted that the judge in the case said that he will revisit the matter on March 15.

Pena was suspended indefinitely by state regulators in May last year based on a review of his veterinary records, which, the board said, showed evidence that horses trained by Pena were administered medications in violation of state law more than 1,700 times over a 28-month period. None of Pena’s horses had tested positive for any prohibited medications.

The case raised thorny legal questions and was criticized by many horsemen’s advocates.

Pena was one of the leading trainers at harness tracks on the Eastern seaboard from 2009 to 2011.