by | 11.17.2010 | 12:47am

By Ray Paulick

Anthony Adamo, who worked as racing manager and one of the trainers in one-time Eclipse Award-winning owner Michael Gill's large Pennsylvania operation in 2009-10 has been suspended for 90 days by the stewards at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa., for an incident that occurred nearly six months ago.

Adamo was suspended 30 days for “possession of four hypodermic needles and syringes on the grounds of Penn National” on Oct. 22—in violation of Pennsylvania Code, Title 58, Section 163.6 (C), 163.302 (A) 3, 163.312, 163.340 (A), (D) (E), 163.521 (J), 165.201. That suspension is due to begin April 26 and run through May 25.

A second suspension, to begin May 26 and run through July 24, is accompanied by a $1,000 fine. The official ruling states “after reviewing the testimony and evidence, the board of stewards determined that there was the intent to administer an unnatural and unauthorized substance to the horse Lion's Park.” (Section 163.302 (A), (1), (2), (3), 163.309, 163.312, 163.317, 163.521 (F), (J), 163.340 (A), (D), (E), 165.201.) There was no date given for the incident, but Lion's Park was entered and scratched by the stewards on the night of Oct. 22, the same night Adamo was charged with possession of the hypodermic needles and syringes.

Lion's Pride raced five days later, Oct. 27, finishing third in a starter allowance at Philadelphia Park. On Dec. 18, back at Penn National, the son of Lion Hearted was racing on the lead in an allowance race when, according to the Equibase chart, he “went lame” and jockey Deshawn Parker “fell off.” He has not raced since.

Controversy surrounding Gill's stable, including many of the horses that were based at Gill's Elk Creek Ranch in Chester County in Southeast Pennsylvania, reached a fever pitch Jan. 23 when Penn National jockeys voted not to ride in races in which Gill's horses were entered. The vote was precipitated earlier that night by the breakdown of a horse owned by Gill and trained by Darrel Delahoussaye. Jockeys claimed horses owned by Gill were breaking down at an unusually high rate and putting the riders of Gill's mounts and of the other horses in those races at risks. Gill has stated publicly on several occasions that some jockeys and their agents were jealous of the success he was having, and conspired against him.

Gill was subsequently banned from entering horses at Penn National by the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, though he is permitted to race at Philadelphia Park, which falls under the same jurisdiction as that government agency. He has virtually disbanded his entire stable since the January incident and many of the horses that previously raced in his name are competing at Penn National.

Adamo was initially banned from Penn National, then was allowed to race there starting in early March.

The April 15 rulings against Adamo leave several questions unanswered. What was the “unnatural and unauthorized substance” that was allegedly intended to be administered to Lion's Pride? Why did the stewards take five months, until March 23, to conduct a hearing on the case, and nearly six months to issue their findings? Interestingly, the rulings against Adamo also state: “The stewards find that the delay of the effective date of this ruling would be contrary to the interest of the public.”

Finally, was it Adamo who was allegedly caught with the syringes? According to stewards, one of the rules Adamo violated is Pennsylvania Code, Title 58, Section 163.521 (J). It states: “The licensed trainer shall be jointly responsible with his assistant trainer for all acts and omissions of the assistant trainer involving a racing matter.” Adamo was also fined $250 for having an unlicensed and illegal stable employee on the grounds of the track.

Meanwhile, a state police investigation and grand jury has been ongoing at Penn National. It is believed the investigation is looking into not only the activities of some of the individuals employed by Gill, but licensed personnel working at the track as independent contractors or employees of Penn National.

Copyright © 2010, The Paulick Report

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