People are like sharks. When they smell blood, they circle around for the kill feeling the person is wounded and vulnerable. Well, there is no doubt the vast majority of the harness racing community is circling around Lou Pena, just looking for that shred of evidence that something is amiss; sometimes even taking things out of context.
I will be the first to say Mr. Pena's performance is eye opening to say the least. But where is the evidence of wrong doing? Yes, I am aware of the amazing turnaround of his horses and anyone who is doing that good deserves to be looked at, but the investigation needs to done in the background. Not in the public domain. Yet some in the industry, including the media, has already convicted him.
Which makes me wonder about the latest article from Harness Racing Update where they report on Mr. Pena's performance since he has been asked not to race (banned) at Yonkers Raceway. Harness Racing Update reports that since the ban from Yonkers, he has won since August 4 only ten races out of fifty-three starters, good for an 18.8% win rate where his year to date winning percentage was 31.8%. Yes, Mr Pena has been a news story all year, but is the article implying he is in a mini-slump or are they insinuating that Pena was able to do 'something' over at Yonkers and now is unable to do the same? Did anyone consider his slow down may have more to do with his having to race horses who raced all year over the Yonkers half mile oval instead of the 5/8 mile tracks of PA and there is some acclimation required to determine the proper placement of horses?
I understand the industry is very interested in Lou Pena as the allegations continue to build. However, at this time, the industry is only hurting itself with these stories as all they are are allegations. It is time to keep Lou Pena out of the racing media until there is actual news to report regarding any wrongdoing or an exoneration. The talk in the industry has already got us in the New York dailies, further feeding the public perception that harness racing is crooked. Doesn't harness racing have enough problems in the public arena that we don't need to feed our own poor image within the public?
I get it; there are suspicions by some that Mr. Pena may be cheating. They may be right, they may be wrong. Let the investigations proceed. In the meanwhile, let's get back to racing and lay off the Pena stories..