05/27/2005 11:00PM

Tanaka arrested, held without bail

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Owner Gary Tanaka, whose stable of successful racehorses currently includes Grade 1-winning sprinter Pico Central, has been arrested and charged with using investors' money to purchase racehorses, according to reports from Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times.

Tanaka, who lives in London, co-founded Amerindo Investment Advisors with Alberto Vilar, a prominent philanthropist and patron of the arts. Vilar also has been arrested in New York. Authorities have charged him with stealing $5 million in investors' funds and alleged he used those funds to cover his philanthropic pledges and to pay bills.

Vilar's attorney, Susan Necheles, told the New York Times said the charges are "just not true."

On Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pittman ordered Vilar held without bail until a hearing in New York on Tuesday. Bloomberg News reported that Tanaka also is being held without bail and is scheduled to make a court appearance on June 3.

Tanaka has owned Thoroughbreds since 1993 and has campaigned such Grade 1 winners as Golden Apples, Donna Viola, Millkom, Dreams Gallore, and Snow Polina, as well as numerous stakes-winners overseas. His trainers have included Paulo Lobo, who currently trains Pico Central; Ben Cecil; Steve Asmussen; Neil Drysdale; Ron McAnally; and Bill Mott, among others.

Last week, Tanaka struck a private deal with Robert Clay's Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky and Satish Sanan's Padua Stables in Florida to stand Pico Central at Padua after the 2005 racing season. The farms bought a 50-percent interest in the 6-year-old Spend a Buck horse.