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
Owner/trainer Ricardo Vega, who trains as Richard Vega Racing Stable, has been summarily suspended after multiple loaded needles and syringes were found in his tack room at Parx. The items were discovered as part of a large-scale raid at the facility last week.
The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission issued the summary suspension on May 24, following the raid. The next day, three of Vega’s horses were stewards’ scratches from the May 25 race card at Parx. A board of stewards hearing was held on May 27, where officials voted to uphold the summary suspension issued earlier in the week.
The summary suspension cited two violations of state code — one that prohibits the possession of hypodermic needles, syringes, or injectable substances by non-veterinarians, and another that states “a licensee shall not, alone or in concert with another person, engage in inappropriate, illegal or unethical conduct which violates the Commission’s rules and regulations of racing, is inconsistent with the best interests and integrity of racing or otherwise undermines the general public’s faith public perception and confidence in the racing industry.”
Vega is denied access to the grounds of Pennsylvania commission-sanctioned tracks in both his capacity as an owner and as a trainer. The May 27 decision to uphold the summary suspension is subject to appeal. Attorney Alan Pincus, who represents Vega, did not respond to calls for comment.
Vega is a member of the Parx Hall of Fame and has trained winners of over 1,100 races to earnings of more than $19.5 million. He took out his trainer’s license in 1992 after starting in the business as a hotwalker in Florida in the 1980s and working as an assistant to Al Hinson. He is a graded stakes-placed trainer and is the conditioner of Dulce Realidad, Philadelphia Park’s Horse of the Year and Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in 2008 and 1999 Philadelphia Park Claiming Horse of the Year Open Ice Hit. Among other clients, Vega has trained horses for Dun Roamin Farm, the nom de course for Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association president Sal DeBunda, who represents the THA as a member of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission.
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