By a 4-1 vote, a New York appeals court has tossed all the charges against Lou Pena which resulted from the NYSGC getting medical records of the NJ veterinarian via the NJRC. The reason for the rulings being tossed? The veterinarian whose billing records these were refused to confirm the dates listed were in fact treatment days. Without those dates being confirmed, the majority ruled the case against Pena fell apart because for all we knew those were billing dates or dates posted haphazardly. One judge dissented from the opinion claiming a reasonable person could assume the dates listed were treatment dates, hence would not have reversed the NYSGC ruling,
Don't count on seeing Pena racing in New York anytime soon though. One may expect the NYSGC to appeal this decision plus Pena would still have to reapply for a new license, no guarantee the NYSGC would issue him one. Even with a license, it is safe to assume Pena would not be welcome at any Gural-operated tracks and his return to Yonkers is not guaranteed either.
I am no fan of Mr. Pena, but the law is the law. I have other problems with how this case was handled but the judges have decided the dates are speculative without corroboration of the veterinarian. Call it the Veterinarian Block.
The sad thing about this is racing loses out for Pena rightfully or not, will be known for what he was charged for.
I guess this is what happens when you have a 'Get X' campaign. In a rush to get Pena, they made a sloppy mistake whereas if they took their time, they may have gotten their man if he was indeed violating the medication rules. As a result, everyone suffers.