Masio #2 ridden by J.D. Acosta edged out Girls And Guns #6 to give trainer Richard Vega his #1,000 career win at Parx Racing in 2016
Parx Hall of Fame owner/trainer Ricardo Vega, who runs under the banner of Richard Vega Racing Stable, will be appealing the summary suspension dealt to him last week by the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission. Attorney Alan Pincus said he had filed paperwork in court Thursday to request a stay of suspension while the appeals process is completed.
According to the racing commission’s ruling from May 27, multiple loaded syringes and needles were found in Vega’s barn during a large-scale raid at Parx in late May. Pincus said his client shares the tack room where the items were found with three other trainers and that it is not kept locked.
Pincus said Vega was not permitted in the barn while investigators searched and was shown one loaded syringe, which he did not recognize. It remains unclear what was in the loaded syringes, since Pincus said testing has not yet been completed on the contents.
“They showed him one syringe and he doesn’t know anything about it,” said Pincus. “They claim they found a whole bunch of other stuff but we’ve not seen it.
“They’re not going to hold a hearing until the results of that testing comes back, and who knows how many weeks or months that could be. So without a stay [of suspension], he’s going to go out of business waiting for a hearing.”
Pincus also said there was no representative of the horsemen present during the search, as he said is required.
According to a report presented at a regular meeting of the commission May 25, investigators searched six barns, six tack rooms, five grooms’ quarters and five external tack rooms. They also completed 66 out-of-competition tests. Although he could not reveal specifics, commission executive director Tom Chuckas said at that meeting the raid revealed “a significant amount of contraband … dealing with medications, either unlabeled, compounded, or expired.
“I regret to say that there were contraband that have no business on the backside, like needles and syringes and some other things that we discovered,” Chuckas said.
Pennsylvania state code prohibits anyone other than licensed veterinarians from possessing syringes, needles, or injectable medications on the backstretch.
No hearing has been set yet for the appeal.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2021 Paulick Report.