Federal Trial Of Trainer Murray Rojas Set To Begin June 19

by | 06.16.2017 | 9:50am
Penn National Racecourse

Nearly two years after her first indictment, the trial of Pennsylvania trainer Murray Rojas is scheduled for Monday in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, Pa. The trainer is alleged to have illegally administered or directed administration of drugs to dozens of starters within 24 hours of post time over a period of five years. Rojas faces 47 counts of wire fraud, attempted conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud, and misbranding of prescription drugs.

Rojas has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The government's assertion is that Rojas administered or directed unindicted veterinarians to administer substances to horses within 24 hours of racing, including Acetylcysteine, ACTH, Banamine, Dexamethasone, ECP, Estrone, Ketoprofen, Legend, Robaxin, and Robinol. According to the superseding indictment filed earlier this year, the veterinarians would then provide false treatment forms to the Pennsylvania Racing Commission to conceal the administrations.

Pennsylvania law permits only furosemide (Lasix) to be administered to horses within 24 hours of a race.

Purse money in the races Rojas' horses contested was paid by interstate electronic transfer of funds, which prompted the federal charges related to the alleged wire fraud scheme.

According to the second superseding indictment, misbranding charges stem from the allegation Rojas dispensed prescription animal drugs without written or verbal order of a licensed veterinarian.

Rojas' attorney, Robert E. Goldman, petitioned unsuccessfully last month to have the counts of misbranding from the second superseding indictment dropped.

Between 2012 and 2015, Rojas cooperated with the FBI in part of a long-running investigation into illegal activity at Penn National Race Course, which ultimately resulted in charges against other trainers, veterinarians, a racing official, and a clocker.

According to testimony from FBI special agent Bruce Doupe in a suppression hearing sought by Rojas in 2016, Rojas had been providing Doupe with information regarding which horsemen and officials were engaged in wrongdoing, saying she wanted to “clean up the racing industry.” In the course of those investigations, the FBI interviewed veterinarians who provided agents with equine medical records. Some of those records indicated Rojas was “conducting the same type of criminal activity that she was giving me information on other people,” according to Doupe.

Rojas began training in 2000, according to Equibase, and has not started a horse since her original indictment in August 2015.

Federal officials told the Paulick Report earlier this year that if convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison and up to $5.2 million in a forfeiture judgment against her.

  • Richard C

    Fred Sanford has three words to describe the (alleged) double-game by Rojas: You Big Dummy.

    • FastBernieB

      Too bad her name wasn’t Lamont.

  • wmk3400

    The shame of all of this is that I have always had a fondness for Penn National and the surrounding area. I no longer travel there (a 90 minute drive from where I live if I step hard on the accelerator). I no longer play that track at all. Give me a reason (or two) to return and I promise that I will.

    • john

      The place is nice. I know Parx has a lot of shady characters. I have run horses at Penn and like it a lot. Don’t let some bad apples spoil the whole bunch at Penn. Just treat these bad apples very harshly.

      • wmk3400

        Listen John, first I lived near Parx for 13 years. I moved 45 miles south and haven’t been back since. I shower at least once a day and still feel dirty.

        As far as Penn National goes they have had too many scandals recently. I’m merely a horseplayer and I’m suspicious enough without justification. Also management needs to lower takeout. There are a few other business and logistics decisions that management has made that I don’t really like that I’ll deal with if they clean up their product. The powers that be may not care, but I do and that’s all that matters to me. At the present time they don’t deserve my business and they’re not going to get it.

    • billy

      Fondness for penn national…..why?

      • Bristling

        You probably never been to Penn

        • billy

          Not in a couple weeks anyhow

      • wmk3400

        I also like tuna fish. I can’t explain it, I just do.

        • billy

          Don’t get me wrong it’s a nice place kind of its a nice quiet atmosphere to watch training, most exercise riders take great care of the horse underneath them but I will never agree with the big picture of what goes on there sick and tired of watching horses that shouldn’t be on the track. Wish the ” good” folks would oust the bad ones it’s. What the place needs most to put their foot down

          • wmk3400

            That’s a reasonable reply. I like the general area and the track has always been a favorite of mine including the drive to get there whether It was from NYC or Philly where I live nowadays just south of the city. As far as putting my foot down……consider it down. Until they make it more attractive they get zilch and that also includes casino play.

          • billy

            I live close to penn and am always traveling down the highways or turnpike towards Philly for work so I agree fully I’m not a gambler just not my thing but I love the horses special creatures from what I see there just not getting a true fair shake and it pisses me off racing needs to pick what it is a sport or buissness it can not be run as both the way I see it there’s not enough being done for the competitors it’s all about money and there’s to many hands trying to reach into the pot racing has created all of its own problems with very few solutions pa is a great example of that

          • wmk3400

            I hear you Billy. It’s a microcosm of many far more serious and pressing issues on this planet than just horse racing, PA or America. There are too many soulless, self-absorbed narcissists and sociopaths from the top down running around. They are political, business and religious (I use this term very loosely) leaders. We as a species mistreat each other. Why would we treat horses better than we treat ourselves? We are a throw-away society including human beings. Why wouldn’t we throw-away racehorses?
            Billy, to respond to one of your above points horseracing is in the sports business. They key word isn’t horse or sports….it’s business. Business is sociopathic by nature and money is ALWAYS the bottom line. I come from Elmont New York in fact. I could walk to Belmont. I watched the county (Nassau) from the time I was a boy to the present time when I visit family change vastly. Growing up in the 60s there were empty lots. There was space. No more. For the last few decades houses are knocked down and a two or three family house are built on the same lot. I then move to Bucks County in the mid-90s and watch it all over again. I know what’s going to happen in advance. I’ve seen it before. Follow the money. Again it’s always the money.
            Billy, you seem like you might be a good guy. Continue to be that way and fight for what you believe in. We can continue to speak out but in the end the only thing we can control is ourselves. I don’t know about you but that can be a struggle for me at times but I never lower myself to match other who have done just that. Take care.

  • Bryan Langlois

    This will be a very interesting case in seeing what the legal arguments are and how it all plays out. It has the potential to be a precedent setting case as well.

    • Doc

      Especially in light of the Lou Pena case.

    • Kathryn Papp

      The veterinarians had every opportunity and responsibility to JUST SAY NO

      • billy

        Yes and hopefully they suffer the concequences seen enough horses that should of never been allowed on track bout time to get these people gone for good bring them all down I hope your forced to spill your guts rojas there’s alot more that should be going down with you. And please I don’t care what the punishment is just keep these people away from horses for good

        • Kathryn Papp

          But the vets all pled out already!

          • billy

            Relax I know this, but honestly it stops at rojas doubt it

          • billy

            The part that really bothers me is that none of them lost their license to practice correct, I don’t believe the agreements of the plea were released on all of them so I’m not sure, also it was said they have illegal drugging going back to as early as 1986 (pennlive)somethings just not right with this whole deal and it still continues

    • Kathryn Papp

      Meanwhile like this still is not continuing to go on everywhere else and with worse, more detrimental substances!

  • Miss the Magic

    They are at the wrong track Parx is where they should be. They would have no trouble finding violators of the 24 hour rule. Of course Parx doesn’t even give rulings to the ones they do catch, they need them to keep entering horse.

  • Nell Ray

    I have read constantly time and time again from many of you that Pennsylvania does nothing to address its racing issues but yet we have a federal trial set to take place for trainer stabled there. then again you have an American Triple Crown winning trainer who admittedly administered drugs and is partially responsible for a dozen horses dropping dead but he has not been prosecuted by the proper American authorities nor have any of you urged a prosecution to take place. quite remarkable.

    • Longshot

      The triple crown trainer has lawyers who could tie that stuff up in the legal system for years. And alot of money to keep on fighting it

      • Nell Ray

        So does that mean that the moral ground is lost ? listen. the thoroughbred brings us here. It is the reason why we discuss this sport the Thoroughbred is the reason why many of us have participated and love the sport. if it’s not about the protection and the maintenance of the Thoroughbred then America should stop racing it’s horses.

    • billy

      Yea and look at the punishments handed out…quite a joke in my mind why don’t you research pa horse racing it might give you a better look from across the pond

  • billy

    Why does horse racing have the inabilty to punish someone, what makes the courts be involved the gambling part why is horse racing unable to punish to the fullest extent from the inside without the court system

    • Longshot

      It’s the old saying. If you are accused of a crime you will have your day im court

  • Brent T

    Now they need to clean up Louisiana, it’s full of BAD

  • Aristoteles rubinstein

    Nelly if you believe than this problem es bad in penn you must read the gross rules of the corrup board of the stewars and Wv racing commission, that is. A corrupted race track and the FBI just ignore.

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