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Yonkers Bans Pena

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Published: August 8, 2011 8:18 am ET

Last Comment: August 13, 2011 12:48 pm ET | 60 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

He has been a lightning rod for the North American harness racing industry since he made the move to the United States' East Coast just a few years ago, and now trainer Lou Pena and his winning ways have worn out their welcome at Yonkers Raceway.

A report this past weekend by the New York Post dropped the bombshell that officials with Yonkers Raceway recently informed Pena that his entries would no longer be accepted at the purse-rich half-mile oval.

Pena told the New York Post that he received a call from Yonkers Raceway Race Secretary Steve Starr on July 29. According to Pena, Starr told the 42-year-old conditioner that, "For the best interests of the sport, you must leave (Yonkers Raceway)."

Seeing as though none of his horses have produced a positive test since his ascension up the Yonkers training ranks, Pena, the track's leading conditioner this year by leaps and bounds, believes that he has been shown the door at the track due to his dominance over his rivals.

The report has quoted Pena as saying, "(Yonkers) officials told me, 'Slow down. Don't win so much.'"

This year, Pena's Yonkers starters have won 242 races. His closest rival in the Yonkers trainers' race has only won 82 dashes at the half-mile oval this year. Overall this year, Pena's outfit has sent 1,399 starters postward and recorded 443 victories, 233 second-place finishes and 151 thirds. His Universal Trainer Rating currently sits at an ultra-sharp .445, and his horses have raced their way to more than $6-million in purse earnings. He was also Yonkers' leading trainer for the 2010 campaign.

The article explains that officials with Yonkers did not want to discuss the situation with the New York Post, but the track's vice president, Bob Galterio, did issue a statement, which simply said that, "At this time, we do not feel it is in our best business interest to have Mr. Pena participate at Yonkers Raceway."

"I'm crushing the opposition -- it's totally technique training -- and these people are crying; they're not happy," Pena was quoted as saying. "I've become the most hated man on earth. If you're good, you must be bad."

(With files from the New York Post)

August 13, 2011 - 12:48 pmRoger Clemens from what I've

Bob Boyd SAID...

Roger Clemens from what I've read could face life in prison for lying to Congress.
It's my understanding Clemons never tested positive for anything in his entire career.
Maybe racing should rethink their punishment when it comes to positive tests, especially for a trainer that's had multiple positives.

And if I'm not mistaken the whole premise behind the Clemons issue is "for the good of the sport"

Just my thoughts

August 13, 2011 - 11:33 amhonestly, do any of you

bill gemmill SAID...

honestly, do any of you really beieve that Pena has a supplier for some 'super go fast' that no other trainer anywhere in the world has access to?

Casie Coleman faced the same type innuendo in Ontario on the WEG circuit not long ago ; forced to race from detention etc.

On another note I see Brennan won a ton of races again last night in Yonkers without Pena's 'hot' horses.

August 12, 2011 - 5:29 pm8/9/2010 excess lasix

8/9/2010 excess lasix notice the date ! 7/\31\2010 positive testosterone class 3 notice the date ! 2/27/2009 flunixin 4/19/2006 robaxin 1/22/2005 methylprednisolone 2/27/2004 methylpredisolone 2/20/2004 methylpredisolone 11/14/2003 flumethasone 6/20/2003 detrophan 4/23/2003 methylprednisone 5/1/2002 methylprednisolone I stated earlier it was 11 in eight and half correction 11 in 9 years. these are all real positives an excess of a medication is still a positive.

August 12, 2011 - 4:44 pmThe racetracks are private

The racetracks are private propriety and they have the right to exclude anybody they deem bad for business. except discrimination, religion prejudice etc. I think Yonkers when they banned Lou Pena didn,t do it on a whim and would of thought long and hard about the legal ramifications of such actions.Therefore I think Yonkers probably has more than Lou winning to many races as their only reason for the ban. Would any of you want to stand on that from a legal standpoint? I give Yonkers credit for having more sense than that, maybe i'm wrong.

August 12, 2011 - 10:46 amjust did an on-line search

bill gemmill SAID...

just did an on-line search and as far as I can tell Pena had eight post-race positive test violations between 2002 and April of 2006. However, since that time, he has had zero.
It's worth noting that all of his positives with the execption of one were for race medications that were allowed in the jurisdiction he was racing in , but his horses tested over the allowable amount.
The one positive he received that was for a medication not allowed was for furosemide (Lasix) and shortly after his positive Lasix was approved for use.

August 12, 2011 - 8:14 amDoes anyone know for a fact

Bob Boyd SAID...

Does anyone know for a fact if Lou Pen has had any positive tests in the last 5 years?

August 11, 2011 - 10:24 pmLet me just say this. There

Joe Riga SAID...

Let me just say this. There has been a long list of so called "super trainers" I could print a long list but it would be pointless because I'm sure Standardbredcanad would not publish it. Most of these called "super trainers" who had such great techniques aren't around anymore for one simple reason. THEY GOT CAUGHT. Now if only they would catch the few that are still around.

August 11, 2011 - 10:18 pmSo let me get this straight

So let me get this straight Sal.. Just because a trainer or driver is red hot over long periods of time, a track has the right to just right banish them with no reason and no prove? What happened to being innocent until PROVEN guilty?
The only reason I see that Pena is being pointed out here is that, he's winning. Yonkers took a big leap up this year with the problems at Meadowlands earlier. The purses have been bigger and it's been drawing the better trainers and horses there because of this. Maybe all the other trainers are happy now, their main competition is gone, it's just too bad they couldn't settle things on the track like it should be, instead of living of an outragous decision.

August 11, 2011 - 7:44 pmthis comment is intended for

robert erie SAID...

this comment is intended for fred brethour.You are bang on with your suggestion,infact either have all horses in retention or none.As long as everyones on the same playing field.The judges should be more agressive with everyone and not just pick and choose who to suspend.Suspensions should include more than just positve tests.

August 11, 2011 - 7:11 pmI find it rather amusing

Karl Holub SAID...

I find it rather amusing that Mr. Pena would be told "Not to try all the time." If that be the case, Yonkers should give Mr. Pena unlimited access to the infield announcement board so that he can convey the following: "Ladies and Gentlemen, I will not, and I repeat, I will not be attempting to win the following races, #3 to #5 inclusive! Please make alternate picks in your Pick 3 and Win 4 selections." I am trying to figure out why a track would ask their top trainer to leave, when that trainer and his charges inflate the pools with the wagers of high rollers! I am also of the same opinion of many respondents to this article-how much can this man do that other seasoned trainers have not tried?

August 11, 2011 - 5:35 pmIn respect to Phillip

John Carter SAID...

In respect to Phillip Dawson's post about George Brennan winning 5 races without Pena being on the ground and suggesting that exonerates Mr. Pena is just not dealing with reality or the facts. Now there is no doubt about it George Brennan is a great driver one of the best in the biz and all great drivers from time to time have big nights. For the most part drivers such as Brennan, Sears, Tetrick, get live drives and as a result will have some big nights.

To suggest that Pena did not have a dramatic effect on Brennan's driving percentage at Yonkers is simply denying the obvious. Pena had 619 starts with 242 wins which resulted in a win% of 39.1. Brennan had 1539 drives with 425 wins which resulted in a win% of 27.6. Now Brennan would have driven the majority of horses that Lou Pena won with. So if you removed the Pena horses from Brennan's stats he probably would have had a win% of maybe 19 to 20%. This is just a rough estimation. Still 19 or 20% is very respectable and it would put him right in line with the tracks 2nd leading driver Jason Bartlett who has a 20% win percentage. Brennan's win % on Pena's horses would be approx twice as high as it was when he drove other trainers horses.

August 11, 2011 - 4:32 pmIf im a general manager at a

sal digati SAID...

If im a general manager at a race track, I will have to understand that i will always hear the gossip about the "masked trainers" from the "legitimate trainers" however when I walk into that venue and the reality is that every one there believes the same gossip, is it not my job to consider the affiliation with the perception of a individual and how it reflects on that establishment?

I must say though as a horse person its hard to get off the fence on this, to my knowledge it's unprecedented that after two years of racing getting the pink slip for no apparent wrong doing at the track. Heck on that precedent there's a couple other guys with similar stats that would entitle them the same treatment? Any way you cut it its a black eye to the sport and because of the scale of the stable only makes it that much more publicized.

August 11, 2011 - 3:59 pmYonkers (the Meadowlands,

elena kusner SAID...

Yonkers (the Meadowlands, and other tracks involved here) and Lou Pena need a sit down ASAP and get out in front of this issue immediately......Come to an agreement.... I want to enjoy watching Lou's horses race wherever he enters them and Yonkers is my home track. All parties better wake up before this spills over to extraneous issues and tarnishes horse racing further as well as their other business interests put under the proverbial microscope.

The owners are ragging to the track, USTA and to the SOA they can't turn a nickle into a quarter much less into a nickle with Pena around, Pena is fairly new in these parts, but he's clean, outspoken and very successful and totally transparent, how many successful outspoken harness horsemen are there in racing who reside at the top?

August 11, 2011 - 7:03 amWhen i read this story there

John Carter SAID...

When i read this story there is a couple of old sayings that come to mind, the first is if it looks to good to be true it usually is and the 2nd one is if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck. Yonkers took a very tough and controversial stand against Mr. Pena for a 40% win percentage against other top trainers that to most reasonable people would be almost impossible to achieve with the high number of starters that he had.

Over the years on the weg and big m circuit there have been many trainers for a period of time that got smoking hot, winning everything for a period of time and stepping up horses off other trainers that would leave you scratching your head as to how they suddenly got so good. Then just as mysteriously several months later they would go back to there old ways where they could barely win a race but yet when they were smoking hot they never got caught with anything but anyone with an ounce of common sense knew something was up.

Did these trainers all get tired of winning races and making money, did they forget how to shoe or jog there horses or were they using something they shouldn't have been using and knew the the authorities were moving in on them so they stopped before they got caught. In sports and in racing the cheaters have been for the most part one step ahead of the testers. Now just because you are not caught doesn't mean you are not doing it. Is Mr. Pena doing anything he shouldn't but getting away with it. That's a distinct possibility and as a result yonkers took a preemptive strike.

August 11, 2011 - 1:38 amOnly someone who has lost

sal digati SAID...

Only someone who has lost there mind would be bewildered at what has happened here. Perception is 9/10 of this game and if you think that winning 8 or 10 in a row in the same class is good for your image then you deserve the scrutiny that comes with it.

August 11, 2011 - 1:11 amWhen George Brennan won five

When George Brennan won five races on Tuesday night at Yonkers, he sure threw a pail of ice water over the Yonkers powers-that-be.Alas, his favorite trainer was not on the grounds. No, Lou Pena was at a casino track, where he entered three horses, and all three were out of the money.

Guess we better get a Yonkers memo sent to Mr. Brennan, telling him to "stop winning so much." People say in these blogs that harness racing smells from time to time. I say the smell is wafting over from Yonkers Raceway.The stench belongs at Yonkers, not at other tracks.

The Yonkers decision was a very important decision that shows that they can pull this nonsense and get away with it. (for now, anyway.)This decision has set racing back 30 years.Very disappointing to me to see this action being taken, with no proof being offered by Yonkers management.

Mr.Brennan won all five races for different trainers. I say this exonerates Mr. Pena and shows that beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Pena did not need any underhanded help from anyone. I suspect that one reason Pena was winning races at a fast clip is that he was smart enough to obtain the services of Mr. Brennan to drive for him.
I guess he had it right, as far as driver selections went. Mr. Brennan only won the two most important races last Sat.
on Hambletonian Day, with the two highest purses.So, now we have a trainer being guilty of using a top driver to win races for him, when he has a horse ready to win.

NOT GUILTY!!!!from where I stand.

August 10, 2011 - 9:59 pmIn an industry where

In an industry where trainers have been caught over the years using a variety of illegal performing enhancing substances and also with cynics, sceptics and professional jealousy amonsgt owners and trainers, it is understandable that Pena's success is viewed with suspicion by many. The state of New Jersey investigated Pena's operation last year and did not suspend him or file any criminal charges. So where is the evidence to support the belief that Pena is using illegal substances? Why is Pena more successsful at Yonkers and other small tracks with a win percentage of over 30% versus about only 18% at the Meadowlands? Perhaps the media should interview him. While horses under his training have improved, sometimes dramatically, Pena's horses still lose about 65% of the time at Yonkers and our often overbet because of his success.

Why did Yonkers apparently tell him that he could begin submitting entries again in October 2011? Did Yonkers suffer too many minus pools when Pena's heavy favorites won? Is management conducting an experiment to determine the impact upon racing handle without Pena? It is one thing to bar someone for the used of banned substances and another to do so based on pure speculation.

So is Pena's success due to hard work and know how or the use of illegal substnaces? I hope for the sake of harness racing that Pena is not using illegal substances on his horses as this declining industry cannot afford to suffer another blackeye of this magnitude.

August 10, 2011 - 9:16 pmIf it is the betting public

If it is the betting public that they are so concerned about-than take his horses out of betting situations! No single trainer is going to "discover" the next test free drug without others piggybacking onto it. Has anyone mentioned how many horses he had at Yonkers? Has he got 3X as many horses? Horses knock time off thier marks everyday....I witnessed a horse do it on Monday at Mowhawk-took 10 seconds off his mark. It happens!

August 10, 2011 - 8:07 pmJust wondering if the

Greg Parke SAID...

Just wondering if the takeout revenue from the slots was say 10% and was put directly to testing procedures how it would change the face of horse racing? This would be the millions of dollars that is said to be needed to catch the "super trainers". It certainly would dispell a lot of the rumours and inuendo.
If someone has proof or something to say out with it. The sport is being killed by rumours.

Greg Parke

August 10, 2011 - 1:18 pmYonkers management has a lot

bob regimbal SAID...

Yonkers management has a lot of nerve to tell a trainer to slow down on his winning,as a bettor what kind of a message is this sendung to the betting public. Good luck to Lou I like to bet his horses as I know I'm getting a fairshake for my dollar.

August 10, 2011 - 10:03 amEach year we have trainers

adam albert SAID...

Each year we have trainers who improve greatly! could it be there staff? could it be training techniques? hmmm what about the years when joe stutzman could claim anything himself and improve it as weel did he get banned? what about casie coleman she was not a very good trainer in alberta moves to ontario and destroys them! then now you have pena doing his thing i do not believe he is using anything at all except for hard work and patience with his horses.I think what all people are missing here is pena is great for the sport! as a fan bettor and owner all i want is my horse to perform well and win to pay the bills so who wouldnt want pena as there trainer? is the same situation gonna happen to tony osullivan in ontario? rene allard? these trainers are all great for the sport to all you haters out there get over it some people are just way better at a job than others!

August 10, 2011 - 9:48 amit seem's Pena's only proven

bill gemmill SAID...

it seem's Pena's only proven "crime" is winning races.....lots of races.

hypothetically asking : Should ALL trainers with a .400 average or higher be banned?

August 10, 2011 - 8:20 amAh the fans(bettors)will

Ah the fans(bettors)will return in droves now that Mr.Pena and others of his "ilk" will be banned for winning. The "honest trainers" will be careful to not win too often and will be careful to not try every time(with the colusion of their drivers). Of course they and the Racing Officals will advise us of when they are trying and when they are not!

August 9, 2011 - 10:22 pmSounds a little unjustified

Sounds a little unjustified to me..
As a better, I hate low odds but you get that on every track in Canada and US. What I want is horse that can run to it's full capability. Not only is that on the on the horse itself but it's driver and it's trainer. If Pena has no positive tests on him, why is Yonkers tossing him out? I'm saying it's probably more bickering from the local horseman and trainers then anything else and Yonkers making a poor choice of judgement on this case.
So Pena has a huge winning percentage over everyone else, he claims horses and makes them 2 to 3 seconds quicker and winning while moving that horse up in class. Fishy, maybe, but he seems to have done his homework on these horses he's claiming. He's not going to just claim a horse, just to claim the horse. He's claiming the horse, because he knows he can improve them to the point where they can win and are profitable. If that's not part of the game, then why have claiming tags on horses?
As for Pena's training techiques, I'm not going to quote on something I don't know about, but what I do know as a bettor, is that I'm going to have to look strongly at any horse he trains.
Point is he races at different tracks, and everyone has come up empty. How does he do it.. no one knows and he for sure isn't going to let the cat out of the bag. If it's not illegal or against the rules of racing, why punish him for that? He's doing what every trainer dreams to be, succesful and making money on top of it.
Do what the ORC does to some of the leading trainers, subject Pena's horses to retention, do some surprise and random testing. Let's see some prove to make this banning legit. Otherwise this will just be the start of tracks going you're just too good at this game, without the benefit of any wrong doing, we're still going to kick you to the curb.

August 9, 2011 - 7:52 pmKayla no one is saying you

Joe Riga SAID...

Kayla no one is saying you can't be a good trainer. But my gosh cmon get your head out of the sand. This is why problems never get fixed because nobody except a few people want to come out and say what so many others are thinking. Yes you are right I have no proof that Mr pena is cheating. However once can also argue that there is plenty of suspect goings on. You may be too young to remember but I recall a time not too long ago when Eric Lefords father, his name escapes me now was winning everything in sight at the meadowlands> I said it right away that I suspected something was going on. I had no proof true but my suspicions were ultimately proven correct. The point is that when one person somehow becomes so good at making a horse go so much faster then the person before him it is only logical that very legitimate red flags go up. The next time you go bet $200 across on a horse and get beat by a horse who suddenly is able to go first over for three quarters of a mile and draw away on you when the week before he couldn't hit the board (and this is simply an example) go ahead and tell me that you will simply chlk that up to good training techniques. Of course that is the excuse of today. At one time is was those great aluminum shoes, or the new bike, or some wonderful new carrots. Cmon give it a rest. I am not saying for sure Mr Pena cheats. If he does I am confident he will eventually be caught like many others before him. But at the same time I am not going to concede that he is such a great trainer. I consider Stew Firlotte a great trainer. There was an incident about 20 years ago at greenwood when his great mare Town Pro was beat by a horse that used to race against lesser comapny but had subsequently switched to the super trainer of that time just a week before. I wnet outside after the race and said Stu how does that horse beat you? He looked at me and said The horse didnt beat us, the trainer did. I didn'tneed anyone to spell it out for me what he was saying. It was bad then and it's worse today.

August 9, 2011 - 7:30 pmI can't see PENA getting

I can't see PENA getting booted out of Yonkers. If the people at Yonkers are suspicious, send in some samples for testing. Brennan still wins when not on a PENA horse, so it can't be the trainer's fault that his horses win.

Yonker's handle will go down, and for the Race Secretary to say to PENA, "Don't win so much", this is really sickening.

I was reading the results from one of Yonker's competitors, and saw that PENA was still winning. Lo and behold , he had moved his tack, etc., to this new track over last weekend, and was still knocking them off.

In my business, some competitors are pouting that I don't play fair.

I have always gone by this rule, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

So does LOU PENA , it would appear.

August 9, 2011 - 7:15 pmIf a man is cheating and is

Luc Lalonde SAID...

If a man is cheating and is not caught, is he still cheating.

Before Arenesp became known as a performance enhancer in race horses...it was used by trainers who put lifetime marks on horses...and guess what...it was called a shoeing change, some people thought they were simply incredible trainers who found the "Technique". Well not really.

Horses are racing in ways, sustaining miles on the outside like never before...and in my opinion the breeding hasn't improved over time in such a manner to make this plausible especially for "AN" individual.

Very suspicious.

August 9, 2011 - 5:53 pmAlso a reply to Joe

Kayla Mills SAID...

Also a reply to Joe Riga,

Unfortunetly, you have no proof that Pena is 'cheating.' Nor do the racetracks. I find this absolutely discusting banning someone because they are doing good.

Just to say also, I have bought a horse from someone just last year and within a week dropped time off of what it was going weeks before that with out using anything more then hay, grain, and giving the horse the respect it deserves. All people have different training methods, some work on certain horses, others don't. So in other words, some people benifit and some people don't. Just because one person doesn't do good with a horse, doesn't mean someone else can't either.

Earlier this year our track had the same problem of so called 'cheating.' But you know what I still beat that guy over and over each week with the same horse. So what, am I the cheater now? Because I'm a girl and only 21 yrs of age? Heaven forbid if someone else does good.

August 9, 2011 - 4:39 pmI think that in every case

alan guthrie SAID...

I think that in every case on here, evryone is right whether you agree with the decision or not. I think the real issue is the Commissions that we pay so much in annual fees to every year, to supposedly help prevent this, are just so incapable and unqualified to conduct or derive the proper testing procedures. I am one of those "LITTLE GUYS" that puts alot of effort and hard work into the horses I have but can't compete with the likes of the Lou Penas and other high percentage trainers and it raelly makes it tough to keep going.

August 9, 2011 - 4:35 pmPaul Grande you and others

Joe Riga SAID...

Paul Grande you and others make a valid point about sending a man to the gallows beofre he is guilty. The problem is that racetracks have a very fine balancing act to do. That is they have to keep both the horsemen who make their living at racing happy and at the same time they need to keep their customers (bettors) happy.

I don't think that Yonkers simply woke up one morning and decided to ban Mr. Pena. I am sure they have had their eye on him for awhile and I would venture to say that they have not only heard many complaints from disgruntled trainers but also from bettors who have a very strong inkling that something not totally legit might be going on. Yonkers had to deal with the problem of what to do about it and that is difficult because if you don't address the bettors concerns then ultimately you lose them.

Now I understand that Mr Pena has no positive test and that is a valid point made by many. However, another valid point which is also made by many is that there is a lot of stuff (drugs etc) that can go undetected for a long time. That can imply inncence but does not prove it. Nor does it prove guilt. However Yonkers had the nerve and fortitude to look at Mr. Pena's record and determine that something was going on and they decided to be proactive to show the bettors that they were serious about dealing with cheaters. Not everyone will be happy with this decision as is quite evident by the postings on this site but in my view I think Yonkers did the right thing because Mr. Pena's pattern is all too familiar with those of us who have been involved in racing for a long time and have seen it all. Yonkers, in my opinion is doing the inevitable.

August 9, 2011 - 4:10 pmlet me help you out joe.

let me help you out joe. multi race wagering,triactor wagering. I didn't even need to go back into july to find LOU on top of a 500$ plus triactor.His horses are involved in pick 3 and 4 wagers that payed well.

August 9, 2011 - 3:07 pmjust the facts lou pena has

just the facts lou pena has 11 positives in last 8 and a half years. utrs 2011 . 445 2010 .428 2009 .337 2008 .243 2007 .258 2006 .263 2005 .239 2004 .291 2003 .291 Quoting Lou Pena that his success is totally training technique. Just wondering how come this training technique is enjoying so much success in recent years that it never had before? Furthermore this technique never seemed to improve almost every new horse into his barn 2 to 3 seconds in a week before. In my 28 years in the business people who improve horses over a period of time never fall under this scrutiny like people who instantaneously improve almost every in week. It looks really bad and not unfair to question how these results are being obtained.

August 9, 2011 - 2:46 pmI can't believe all the hate

John Wood SAID...

I can't believe all the hate and jealousy directed by both horseman and bettors to someone whose only crime is to the best at what he does. If he is cheating where is the proof? Whatever ever happened to due process? This man has been found guilty without any proof and without any crime being stated. It’s all innuendo and heresy.

August 9, 2011 - 12:57 pmA reply to Joe Riga: You

Paul Gangle SAID...

A reply to Joe Riga:

You stated that you are "simply asking for fairness" and I advocate that as well. But it's up to the governing bodies of racing to prove conclusively that Mr. Pena is cheating. If that is the case..... yes, throw the book at him hard and/or revoke his trainer's license indefinitely to force him out of the business entirely. But you don't send a man to the gallows because you "think" he is guilty.

August 9, 2011 - 12:12 pmI find it incredibly naive

Joe Riga SAID...

I find it incredibly naive how some people think that 1) Mr. Pena is not using anything and races his horses clean and 2) that Yonkers should not have banned him.
I am not saying 100% definitively that Mr. Pena cheats. However, what's the old adage about something looking and walking like a duck? I suspected Mr. Pena all last year as I do any trainer who somehow someway seems to know how to train horses so much better then anyone else. Frankly I find it insulting to trainers who work hard every day and train in an honest fashion. There are trainers who have been around for so long they have forgotten more about horses then what Mr. Pena knows and their winning averages are nowhere near his. Last year Mr. Pena cleaned up at the Meadowlands, then he cleaned up at Chester where he and Napolitano driving cleaned up, and now Yonkers. I could write a huge list of trainers I have suspected over the years because as many people on this post so clearly point out have huge winning averages one year and terrible ones the next. Or they take a horse and miraculously in one week lower it's time quite substantially. Give me a break. Do these guys think us bettors are that naive. And as for other owners and trainers being jealous that's hardly the case. It's simply asking for fairness. If I am an owner or trainer or dirver at a track that harbours these cheaters I do not want to be racing for second place money everytime I enter a race where they enter a horse. I am happy Yonkers is at the very least looking into this. If only WEG would do the same. This is one of the main reason I stopped betting on harness racing. And as for this being a great betting angle. Sure it is. I agree. If you like betting $500 to make a $25 profit.

August 10, 2011 - 9:52 amPerhaps Yonkers can explain

david perry SAID...

Perhaps Yonkers can explain why barring Lou Pena is in the best interest of the public because his results are too good. While at the same time permitting drivers such as Jim Pantaleano to compete when there is a record of him being fined and barred at an Ohio track
.

August 10, 2011 - 8:52 pmOk, this is what I see, we

Tamara Price SAID...

Ok, this is what I see, we have trainers that are lazy and inconsistant, we have hardworking trainers that are very routined and regimented but lack in nutritional needs or shoeing expertise, and then we have the trainers that have the ethic and knowledge to complete the package shall we say. So my point, improvements can be made but not 3 seconds worth on those things alone! Conditioning can improve a horse but it takes alot longer than a week for that part of the equation to show.

August 9, 2011 - 11:02 amWhat happened to the theory

Paul Gangle SAID...

What happened to the theory of "innocent until proven guilty". Pena has not had any positive tests recently and yet is now banned from racing at Yonkers for his success and because of jealousy and complaints by some fellow trainers. This does not make sense. I say, the onus should be put where it belongs and that is on the New York Racing Commission, the labs and their testing procedures to conclusively prove that he is in fact "doping" horses, if that is the case. There seems to be a double standard for racing in the US. It's OK for Crys Dream to race after a positive test but not OK for Pena who is guilty of nothing so far.

August 9, 2011 - 10:35 amIf you really think the Lou

Shawn Murphy SAID...

If you really think the Lou woke up one morning and figured out the world's best training techniques I want to sell you some land in Florida. I salute Yonkers for their integrity. This is not others complaining about him winning too much, this is a racetrack that has said enough is enough. We have all seen the trainers that claim and win for fun next out, lower the mile time by 3 seconds. Do you really think that all the other trainers of these horses didnt know what they were doing? As a bettor these are angles, you aren't betting the horse you are betting the trainers. We can easily note trainers in the past 20 years that have been known to claim and miraculously the next week the horse wins for fun. Look back at the stats year after year, trainers have a .220 average, next 5 years .450, next 5 .220, did they all of a sudden forget their unique training techniques?

August 9, 2011 - 10:13 amLike any REALLY successfull

bill gemmill SAID...

Like any REALLY successfull trainer, Pena is suspected of cheating by his peers. That say's more about his peers than Mr Pena.

August 9, 2011 - 9:22 amYou're kidding. right? You

You're kidding. right? You REALLY think bettors want a steady stream of successive 1/5 and 2/5 shots winning virtually every night? Seriously???

August 9, 2011 - 8:14 amHe's using something...no

He's using something...no one is that good, no one! So some thinks its wrong to ban him, well I say too bad. They know he's got some rocket fuel somewhere and down the road it will surface but you just can't let him make a mockery of the sport ever night. I have been in this game a long time and to post numbers like that is impossible without some magic potion. This guy is getting rich while others are racing for the scraps and its the horses that will suffer the most. Hats off to Yonkers for having the nuts to stand up to these jokers!

August 9, 2011 - 4:59 amAs i can see by the negative

As i can see by the negative commentary none of the haters are actually bettors,remember the lifeblood of your industry. Do everything possible to alienate the bettor and when your lottery is done proping up your sport your track will close and it wont make any difference what Lou's average is. With the exception of some champion horses(peelers,etc) there are only a VERY few good bets left in harness racing ,LOU,Rene Allard on the training and Jody Jam on the driving side.None of your stars have a high enough winning average to get money out of the pocket of the gambling public.I have no interest in investing hard earned money into a horse with a trainer whose average is .200 and drivers averages .170 all that will do is make me angry and broke when he finishes 4th beaten 5 lenghts by LOU's horse.So now there are only 2,two bets left in all North America that you can count on a daily basis Rene and Jody,how long till they boot Rene his avg. is higher than Lou's and are they going to make Jody race out of retention himself. his average is 80 points higher than the next guy down the line he must be all jugged up himself is he?? What you people need to do is remember if there are no bettors left there will be no more big races,no more big paydays LOU is great for the sport and if yonkers is too short sighted to see that they are just one step closer to closing for good.

August 9, 2011 - 4:08 amDon Patrick Pena has already

Don Patrick SAID...

Don Patrick
Pena has already said Canada is not an option for him. Too bad, because we could use the competition. Kind of reminds me of Casie Coleman. When she was red-hot, she was forced into retention by WEG. No positive, just winning too much. Random testing, surprise barn visits and tests...yet no positive.

Pena has not had a positive test since 2006. He has a grade 6 education, so I doubt he has created a "super juice". Maybe he's just a great trainer.

As a bettor, I don't want him to slow down, unless the track will inform me when he is not trying. I want consistency, and this guy is consistently winning. That's okay with me.

August 9, 2011 - 1:56 amThe whole reason for the ban

The whole reason for the ban from Yonkers was because of all the jealousy and complaints, mainly from other owners that he was doing something illegal and improving on almost everything he touched. Like any business your in, there is always someone better. Many of the Yonkers trainers are not as great as most people would think and just because they have big stables doesn't mean that horses cant be improved when changing barns wihtout illegal drugs like everyine insinuates. If Lou Pena does have a wonder drug, until he tests positive with one of his horses, he should be allowed to race like everyone else in the business. By the way Real Joke paced in 49 for Julie Miller before he was claimed and was a very nice horse, so him pacing in 47 was no surprise especially on a blistering Meadowlandas track in the dead of summer.

Anyone who has been around as long as I have know that there have been many of the flavour of the month trainers around these parts in Ontario that are now long gone. First it was the milkshake era and then the EPO era and throw in Arenesp as well. Many trainers and owners who are reading this post made boatloads of money during this time and now there horses are just an afterthought to the gamblers because they dont have this edge anymore since the stringent testing and retention barn was brought into place here to curb this.

I for one would love to see Lou Pena's stable come to Ontario and race on the WEG circuit as it would make the racing much more competitive here and generate some excitement that is needed. By the way when was the last time you saw a high priced claim here?

Gary Blackburn

August 8, 2011 - 9:49 pmP.S. Alex Rodriguez is

Isaac Waxman SAID...

P.S. Alex Rodriguez is actually a better example than I originally thought after you mentioned about his positive because Mr. Pena has had positives in the past but is currently in good standing as is A- Rod. Is Michael Jordan a better example Freddy. Don't worry I dont see Pena coming to K D any time soon.

August 8, 2011 - 9:46 pmMr Pena came out east with a

Norm Brunet SAID...

Mr Pena came out east with a .240 average from Cal-expo where the fields are much shorter. He is renowned for claiming horses and stepping them up too many classes all within a week or so. He claimed one horse, Real Joke, whom was trained by Julie Miller for 40K and beat Auckland Reactor his first start and then proceded to win 2 races in 1.47.3 or 2 sub 1.48 miles which puts Real Joke along with Somebeachsomewhere as the only 2 horses to post consecutive sub 1.48. miles in all the history of harness racing. Might be an asterisk there.

More recently a mare (DOCDOR LIBBY 5 y/o )was claimed for $12500. by Pena at Yonkers, her first start with Pena she won a NW18000L5 with a purse of 32K in 1.58.4 (1 1/16) previous start 2.01 (1 1/16) and then finnished 3rd in the FM pref. with a purse of 52K after beeing parked from the 8 hole in 26. flat.
Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of the so called SUPER trainers whom have the ability or capability to step up horses 3 seconds without even changing equipment or shoes on a horse all within a short period of time. Unfortunately their are other trainers out there that fit that category but have chosen to avoid retention and compete elsewhere.

August 8, 2011 - 9:44 pmRandy Fife maybe people will

randy fife SAID...

Randy Fife

maybe people will listen to someone who trains drives owns horses and works as hard as fred brethour does for the last 25 years his father uncles before that its all about training with feel not other ways if you know what i mean

August 8, 2011 - 9:29 pmC.Renon Positive test 14

carlo renon SAID...

C.Renon Positive test 14 days, win to many races banishment............PRICELESS!!

August 8, 2011 - 9:24 pmBottom line is NO ONE is

Bob Colbert SAID...

Bottom line is NO ONE is that much better the the rest. He is competing against some of the best trainers in North America at tracks like Yonkers, The Meadowlands, Chester and Pocono. His win percentage is between 10 to 20 p;oints higher then some of the best. He has over and over again taken horses that are losing consistently at lower levels, he claims Then Jumps them up in class and they knock 2 seconds off their lifetime mark. I want to thank Yonkers for being the first to step up and protect the bettor......

August 8, 2011 - 8:54 pmWhen the drug EPO first came

jamie harris SAID...

When the drug EPO first came to light and trainers where handed suspensions for its use did anyone really think that it had just started to be used? Horses changed hands and set lift time marks first time off the claim and the betting public was susposed to believe that the trainer had a "new technique" or a "bridle change" that made the horses race like never before. Trainers here in Ontario have fallen under the watch of the ORC and been caught, red handed, administering illegal drugs. What was the tip off? The impossible training average that said trainer was carrying. Congrats to Yonkers for this bold and warranted move, maybe there is hope left for this game after all.

August 8, 2011 - 7:47 pmPut every horse, every

Put every horse, every night, every track, every race in 24hr. retention barn.....good horses will still be good horses.
P.S. Bad Example....Alex Rodriquez tested positive for steroids in Texas.

August 8, 2011 - 7:12 pmFans of the game know this:

jim cauchon SAID...

Fans of the game know this: every night of every week of every month, we expect a show. And it isn't a 'show'....when its a 'one man show'!!!! Pena has to go....if he 'won't play nice' in the schoolyard, then he has to go.

I'll worry about the details later.......But here's what I know. The next time I play Yonkers, I might just get some better payoffs, some more 'entertainment' for my betting dollar...and I know a few more horsemen might get to eat.

Most tracks suffer with dominance issues....The truth be told...Bettors would have a much better time if you could get Tetrick out of Chester, Palone out of Meadows and S. Zeron out of any B track and I'd do it tomorrow if I could.

Gural wants superstars, I hope hes only talking about the horses, because harness racing doesn't need driving and training superstars. Their reputations get in the way of the odds. Yes, they get overplayed all the time, which is half the battle, the problem is: they deliver the goods far too often.

I want bigger payoffs in EVERY RACE.....what's wrong hoping for that??? Its a show.....Entertain me!!!!Entice me.....If not, I guess I'll have to put another $50 on a Missisppi St-Tulane game.

jctoronto

August 8, 2011 - 6:10 pmWake up people, he's not

joe davino SAID...

Wake up people, he's not that good he bends his elbow the best. You do not take broken down horses and make them superstars again. He's a mockery to horse racing. They will find out someday what's going on and you will be glad he's not in the horse business.

August 8, 2011 - 5:50 pmLou Pena has this sport

John Carter SAID...

Lou Pena has this sport figured out. He knew the exact right speed to jog his horses thru the week. He figured out the exact right amount of hay and oats to feed his horses on a daily basis. He probably also knew the exact right amount of water to let them drink every day. This was pure genius on his part, no other trainer on the planet has been able to crack this formula and step up horses like they were given rocket fuel. No it is all technique.

August 8, 2011 - 5:33 pmMy theory is that Pena has

Allan Schott SAID...

My theory is that Pena has been asked to leave because NY trainers have complained about him. I have my own theories about Lou, but I will keep them to myself. That being said, have you ever heard of a trainer leading a training colony by almost 3-1?

August 8, 2011 - 5:22 pmWell, Well, don't win and

Well, Well, don't win and they will love you. Be a winner - they will treat you differently. It seems that the problem exists everywhere - in the U.S. and here in Canada - Ontario to be precise. How can you ban or harass someone who is winning races - he doesn't have a positive test - they had his stable scrutinized and they didn't find or see any wrong-doing. Who's crying - the trainers that can't beat him - the public - owners - Who? A trainer from Ontario seems to be going through the same issues - he wins races at every track he races his horses - WEG & ORC don't like it. They are constantly trying to find him in the "wrong" - couldn't find anything so what do they do - they started to impose sanctions on him - they harass him. Isn't racing about winning? If someone doesn't win, nobody pays attention to that trainer but if your name shows up to often - be careful. Only when a trainer gets a positive test should actions be taken not because he wins. How can you tell a trainer "Don't win so many races..." would it make everyone happy to see someone that is doing so well take a dive? To Darryl Newbigging - to answer your question - "Would the ORC & WEG do the same thing to Mr. Pena if he moved here to Canada.." You can be sure that they would...

August 8, 2011 - 5:19 pmI am sure Alex Rodriguez had

Isaac Waxman SAID...

I am sure Alex Rodriguez had a dream of being the best baseball player and or the highest payed baseball player. I am sure he would not work so hard to be the best if the Major Leagues could eventually tell him.... Sorry Alex your batting average is too good and your team keeps winning and we are shutting you down.

The commision should be going after the guys that aren't treating horses with care and not putting money into their horses or living up to their responsibilities as trainers. Instead they go after the people that are doing well and actually winning races.

The last thing I want to be involved with is more controversy, but really, WHAT DO WE HAVE TO WORK HARD FOR ????

This is a message to horse people to not try every start and to not give the betters a fair shot when they put their money down because you should't win every race.

August 8, 2011 - 3:48 pmTo ban Lou Pena for winning

To ban Lou Pena for winning too much when he has never had a postive test at Yonkers is totally wrong and makes a mockery of the sport and both Yonkers and the New York Racing Commission should have to be made accountable for doing it. It is wrong in my eyes and no matter how much he improves horses when they come to his barn, unless he has tested positive or been involved in other wrongdoings race related, that have been verified, it should not matter. I know Yonkers does not have a retention policy like up here for certain trainers and maybe that should have been their route, if they thought they needed to address the issues at hand regarding Lou.As well,no matter what his past record was, it should have no bearing on what he is doing now and it is fact that he has had his barn tested and watched by the Racing Commissions for a long time and they have never found him to have done anything wrong.

Many big named trainers have had positive tests in this business in the past and are allowed to earn a living today and race at any track they wish. I am sure I don't have to name them to people who have been involved in this business.

Let me ask this question to everyone here, what happens when Lou says I am moving to Canada? Will WEG and the ORC allow it (which they should) or will they follow Yonkers and bar him from here as well, even though he has never done anything wrong here and should have the same rights as anyone else to ply his trade to earn a living under a free Democratic Society?

August 8, 2011 - 3:32 pmSurely, there must be some

Surely, there must be some reason or information for telling Pena to leave. I cannot see how you can ban a trainer for winning. If he is using illegal drugs he will get caught eventually. Strange that a winning trainer gets banned and a horse such as Crys Dream who tested positive is allowed to race. Something wrong with this picture.


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