01/20/2003 12:00AM

Suspension is roadblock to Serey return


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - If Juan Serey wants to return to training horses, he must first serve a 90-day suspension for two medication positives dating back more than three years.

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board notified Serey last week that it has denied his appeal of a pair of 90-day suspensions to be served concurrently. The suspensions were due to the presence of the banned substance Ergonovine, found in two of his horses during December of 1999. The board also denied a request by Serey's attorney, Karen Murphy, to start serving that ban immediately.

According to the board, Serey must first prove he is an "active participant'' in the sport. Currently, Serey is working on owner Ernie Paragallo's horse farm in Center Brook, N.Y.

"He has to be an active participant,'' said steward Carmine Donofrio. "If you're not participating, what are you suspended for? If he could prove he's going to have horses to train, which I don't think would be a problem for him,'' Donofrio added, Serey could begin serving his days.

Murphy said the board's request is unfair.

"You're asking an owner to pick a trainer that knows he can't train his horses,'' Murphy said.

Serey, New York's leading trainer in 2000, left training in April, saying he was ill and needed a break. Shortly thereafter, he began working for Paragallo. Serey only won five races from 79 starters in 2002.

"He has a license,'' Murphy said. "He is seeking to return to his status as a trainer.''

Serey's license could come under review later this week. Serey was ordered by a New Jersey court to pay his brother Mario $479,000 in punitive and compensatory damages from a lawsuit in which Mario Serey alleged Juan stole funds out of his horseman's account.

Under New York state rules, the board can refuse, suspend, or revoke a trainer's license if the trainer is found to have "accumulated unpaid obligations'' or "default in obligations.''

Murphy, who did not represent Juan Serey in that case, is currently negotiating a settlement with Mario Serey and hopes to have that completed by the time the board holds its hearing on Serey's license on Thursday.

With Ability retired

With Ability, a multiple graded stakes winner owned and bred by Edward Evans, has been retired. She will be bred to Giant's Causeway.

A daughter of A.P. Indy out of the mare Withallprobability, With Ability won 7 of 19 starts and earned $558,124. As a 4-year-old, she won the Next Move and Sixty Sails handicaps, both Grade 3 races.

With Ability, trained by Mark Hennig, made her final start in the Grade 3 Affectionately Handicap on Jan. 11, finishing last of seven.

Cyber Secret works for Busanda

Cyber Secret, prepping for Sunday's Busanda Stakes, worked six furlongs after Monday's first race at Aqueduct with Rudy Rodriguez up. No one from NYRA timed the work live. She was later given a time of 1:12 when timed off the television.

According to Daily Racing Form's Dave Litfin, who timed the work live, Cyber Secret went six furlongs in 1:12.96. Litfin timed the 3-year-old filly in fractions of 12.86 seconds, 24.77, 36.23, 48.34, and 1:00.70.

Cyber Secret has won 2 of 3 starts.

* Shaun Bridgmohan, suspended 10 days for careless riding Friday, has decided to waive his right to appeal and had his suspension reduced to seven days. Bridgmohan was to begin serving the ban on Tuesday. Under the designated race rule, Bridgmohan will be allowed to ride Cyber Secret on Sunday. If he rides that race, he will have another day added to his suspension.