07/03/2017 12:26PM

Trainer Canani denied license by CHRB

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Trainer Julio Canani, the winner of three Breeders’ Cup races who was suspended for 13 months ending last November for financial improprieties related to the sale of horses in the late 2000s, was recently denied a trainer’s license by the California Horse Racing Board.

Canani participated in a fitness-for-license hearing in April before an administrative law judge who proposed to the racing board that Canani not be allowed to resume training. The racing board adopted the decision June 26.

In the 12-page decision, attorney Patrick Kane wrote, “Simply put, there are very few examples of conduct more detrimental to horse racing and public perception than [Canani’s] conduct here.”

In Kane’s concluding statement, he wrote, “because of the severity of [Canani’s] refusal to accept responsibility for his conduct, total lack of remorse and failure to provide any evidence of ‘rehabilitation,’ [Canani] failed to demonstrate the necessary fitness to be licensed.”

The decision essentially ends the possibility of the 80-year-old Canani resuming training in the near future, if ever.

Canani trained Sweet Catomine, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2004 and the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Lone Star Park that season.

Canani applied for a trainer’s license last December, a month after his suspension ended. Canani was denied a license by the racing board and was informed that he must undergo a fitness-for-license hearing before a potential reinstatement.

Canani was suspended after a 2012 civil court decision in which a jury found him liable for fraud in the sale of California-based horses in 2008. In June 2012, a California jury awarded $48,750 in actual damages and $37,500 in punitive damages to owner Jeff Nielsen of Minnesota stemming from a 2009 lawsuit against Canani and other parties for the sale of some of Nielsen’s California-based horses in 2008.

The suit alleged that Canani convinced Nielsen to sell horses at low prices, and that Canani later resold them for higher values. The case was heard by a mediator, but an agreement between parties was not reached, leading to the jury trial.

The jury ruled that Canani misrepresented details of the physical condition and value of the horses and told Nielsen that the horses were being sold to another party when Canani bought them himself and then sold them to others for a profit.

During his suspension, Canani was not allowed on racetrack grounds. Since the suspension ended, he has been an occasional visitor at Santa Anita.