Licensing Issue Prompts Navarro Horse To Be Scratched From Indiana Grand Stakes

by | 09.12.2017 | 5:20pm
Trainer Jorge Navarro

Loooch Racing Stables' Duchess of Duke will be scratched from the $100,000 Merrillville Stakes at Indiana Grand on Wednesday because the Indiana Horse Racing Commission will not immediately license the horse's trainer, Jorge Navarro, in the wake of the recent ruling against him in New Jersey for “conduct detrimental to racing.”

Navarro and Randal Gindi both were fined $5,000 by Monmouth Park stewards earlier this week for their profanity-laced celebration, captured on a cellphone video and posted on YouTube by a track patron. The video shows them in the clubhouse teletheater talking about “juice” and Gindi saying “I line my pockets with the bookie with another twenty thousand” after a horse trained by Navarro's brother, Marciel Navarro, won an Aug. 4 race at Gulfstream Park.

Navarro told the Paulick Report the incident was in reaction to him constantly being referred to as a “juice” trainer and Gindi having had a previous altercation with the unidentified patron who took the cellphone video. He said neither he nor Gindi bets with bookmakers.

The ruling urged the New Jersey Racing Commission to increase the fines to $20,000 for Gindi and $10,000 for Navarro, since $5,000 was the maximum penalty stewards could impose. The matter is on the agenda at the regularly scheduled commission meeting Sept. 20.

“He hasn't been licensed and he hasn't applied yet,” Stan Bowker, senior state steward at Indiana Grand, said of Navarro. “He would have to be licensed if we allowed the horse to run tomorrow, which we aren't.

“The thing at Monmouth Park is an integrity of racing issue, as far as we are concerned, so he would have to go before the commission,” Bowker added. “Second, we have a rule in our book that says we are not going to license anyone with a pending case before another jurisdiction.”

Bowker cited the Sept. 20 meeting of the New Jersey Racing Commission as the pending case.

“I talked to Navarro and said, ‘Look, you've got to get that cleared up, then we'll consider your application,'” said Bowker.

The ruling against Navarro in New Jersey was not issued until after entries were taken for Wednesday's Indiana Grand program. That prevented Loooch Racing Stables principal Ron Paolucci from moving the horse to another trainer. Under normal circumstances, a trainer licensed in other states can enter a horse and get licensed before the race in question is run.

“The trainer of record has to enter the horse to race, so anyone (Paolucci) would get now would not be the trainer of record,” said Bowker. “Plus there is the chain of custody issue.”

Paolucci purchased Duchess of Duke privately after her last race, a June 30 allowance at Woodbine after the 5-year-old mare by Successful Appeal finished second for trainer Barbara Minshall and owner Douglas J. Reddington. The mare, who has two wins, six seconds and two thirds from 17 career starts, has recorded five workouts for Navarro at Monmouth Park, where the trainer recently won his fifth consecutive training title and won a record 65 races from 158 starts. Duchess of Duke was entered against nine other Indiana-bred fillies and mares and was the third choice in the race on the morning line at 6-1.

  • Hamish

    The plot thickens…….

  • Bristling

    Good for Indiana

  • El Espresso

    Good Job Indiana!!

  • Richard C

    Ron Paolucci should be good for a comment or two — since he appears to enthralled with the training philosophies of Jorge Navarro.

    • FagerPhD

      He had to get poor War Story that graded stakes somehow right?? 🙃🙃🙃

    • KateDscM

      I recall Paolucci’s comment about Game Over (5th in the Ohio Derby) prior to his runner-up effort in the West Virginia Derby: “I moved him to Navarro right after the Ohio Derby,” Paolucci said. “I actually wanted to aim for the (Grade I Haskell Invitational) but he needed to have another work. With Navarro, you need to give a horse time to get acclimated to the program.” I’ll bet you do.

      • Acclimated! Now that is rich.

      • lastromntribune

        Paolucci………every dog has it’s day….his is coming so is Navarro’s.

  • Brent T

    Awesome news. Now you just need other jurisdictions to follow this as well. And do not let them run in assistants or owners names. Got to rid the sport of all the scanless cheats.

  • Guest

    Great job Indiania!!! Great decision!! Protecting the integrity of the sport !! Thank you!!!

    • Blue Larkspur

      I remember when the term “jealous trainers” was trotted out during the Thyroxine disaster in CA …. turns out they were just more disgusted

  • Kevin Callinan

    Never thought I would see the day that both Indiana or Tampa would have higher standards than Monmouth.

    • Mike Oliveto

      That’s every day…Monmouth is a cesspool.

    • slvrblltday

      Indiana has always had some of the highest standards in regard to rules and handling of infractions.

  • Michael Infurna

    Too bad Monmouth hearing is next week!!

  • Jack Frazier

    Another one who should be punished to the max.

  • worldb.free

    Crooks. The real crooks are at the njrc they allow these creeps to race.

  • McGov

    These people that rip the very soul of our sport apart…….we must find a way to get rid of them and get rid of them for good. So long as we patronise this type of thing and tell them to ” get it cleared up”….we are doomed.
    They turn our sport into a carnival of greed.
    At the expense of horses.
    Shame on them for doing it. Shame on us for the perpetual circle of tolerance avec token appeasement.
    Thank you PR for bring light to these issues. We cannot ignore. The internet connects us all in the most unique way…..we cannot allow these people any relief.
    We must call them all out, whenever possible.
    For soooooo long sooooo many have looked the other way. NO MORE.

    • billy

      Agreed horse racing to get it together or just go away…enough is enough tired of seeing all of it

    • Energic

      The winning horse is not directly attached to Jorge Navarro. This horse was on a remote location. Unfortunate Jorge is perceived incorrectly for winning at a high rate, similar to Tod Pletcher and Baffert.

      In court, he will be aquitted from any responsibility or wrong doing.

      • Blue Larkspur

        Yes, especially when he yells out things that make him appear so innocent.

      • Suivez Moi

        Todd Pletcher and Baffert don’t have a 40% win ratio. 40% is obscene and very suspicious. Navarro is like a bank robber who averts jail because he has the town sheriff in his pocket. AKA the racing commission in almost all jurisdictions. They operate on the assumption they need him. They don’t !!.

      • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

        “Unfortunate Jorge is perceived incorrectly for winning at a high rate, similar to Todd Pletcher and Baffert.

        Navarro’s win rate this year is 33% from 379 starts according to Equibase. Pletcher is at 25% and Baffert 31%. Navarro’s win rate is higher than any other trainer in North America with more than 114 starts according to the Equibase stats.

    • lastromantribune

      agree.

  • gus stewart

    I really want to give mr Navarro the benefit of doubt with the video with owner just being emotional during a race. The only thing that i question is his win percentage and his in the money percentage with lower level horses. Allowance and stakes horses seem to hold there form better because of less races and less aches and pains. But lower level horses its usually the horse that is feeling the best that day wins,, he must really make his horses happy i guess..

    • Yes, he must spend a lot of time at the barn and make his horses happy. Yes, that is undoubtedly the key to his success.

    • Arnold H

      Why do you want to give him the benefit of doubt?

      • gus stewart

        Simply saying that if we are not actully around that situation, im not in calif, i would like to take him at his word. Its just the percentages i have highlighted dont fall much in his favor to defend his statements.

    • Al McBean

      I am so happy come along and watch me live in a barn without a roof..cuz I am happy…yep Navarro’s horses be in there barn singing pharel songs…lmao.

  • Condor

    Make life awkward for people who break rules instead of bending over backwards to assist them and there ill gotten gains. Great work.

  • Gls

    Juan Vazquez says thanks for the distraction!!! 😊

  • Miss the Magic

    Until there is a National Racing Commision like all other professional sports have, the Juans and Jorge’s will continue on the road to destroy racing. Juan had a horse win a maiden race three times before it passed the test barn. He must have made thousands gambliling on at his horse. If you ran a horse against his in the last maiden race you where running against a never win three with a maiden. What about the horse loses the purse money and the condition.
    All the states want their own little kingdom, if horseman (trainers and owners) don’t get togeather and have national control over racing ( and I don’t mean the HBPA) horse racing is toast.

    • The rubber may finally meet the road when the losing trainers themselves have had enough. Nobody knows how close they are to stepping up to the plate and announcing their intention to spearhead the effort to install USADA to clean up the game. Only actual investigative police work by an independent agency that nobody in racing can control or manipulate will end this mess. But not enough horsemen want to step up to the plate for fear that they will be painted with the same brush that taints the crooks. In fact just the opposite is the case. Racing needs to show that by ridding itself of cheaters it is taking control and cleaning up the game. But horsemen leaders have been rowing in the opposite direction.

      • gus stewart

        Barry, what u say is true, but these thing take time is what we are told. You are still engaged in the ownership and racing of thoroughbreds. I said that my boss and partner 20 years ago, did quit because running 2nd and 3rd unless in a maiden race, or stakes, does not make sense to own racehorses. Getting beat years ago, by the same top trainers, when we knew we were dropping to win only to see one or two claimed and doulble jumped in race, would beat us and we got our horse claimed in race, did we say enough. Many in biz whether owning or gambling on horses will continue, because its all they know. When they finally all go broke, then the industry will be so financially devastated it will be gone or maybe be able to address things you have highlighted

        • Blue Larkspur

          I know plenty of people who have left for that reason, or gone to the “high percentage” barn so they can compete

          • gus stewart

            You mean people who thought why am i investing with you, this guy Madoff is on fire with his returns, he must be legit,, unfortunately until racing stops the blind eye to the problem i cant blame them if they want to stay in the racing game

          • Blue Larkspur

            As Barry mentioned above, I wonder how long before some of the “losers” get tired of the purse grabbing. If Gavin Newsome becomes governor out here, there might be a brand new type of fox guarding the henhouse … one can hope

          • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

            Newsom is the odds-on favorite to become the next governor of CA.

          • California was on the right track at one time when Jerry Brown was the governor in an earlier era and Gray Davis oversaw the racing board and the board was filled with people like Harvey Furgatch who gave a damn about doing the right thing. There was plenty of reason for hope. But changes killed the progress. When Davis became governor and sold his soul to indian gaming, progress stopped. Seems that in his modern term as governor, while Brown has done plenty of good, he has lot interest in racing.

          • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

            I’m well versed on Newsom’s stance on most social and political issues but unclear as to where he stands on horse racing. Do you have any insights?

        • lastromntribune

          make a lot of sense Gus. and all true.

        • From your personal and narrow perspective, what you say makes a lot of sense, but you and this syndrome are only part of the entire fabric of the industry. Owning and breeding horses is not entirely a commercial enterprise, even in America and especially in Europe and Great Britain.

      • Tony

        Barry, what if owners were fined instead of trainers. A horse fails a test after a race, the owner is fined the amount of the purse. The entire purse. I don’t think an owner would risk using a questionable trainer with that possibility. I’m sure no jurisdiction would institute that type of fine, but I always thought that if the owner had $$ skin in violations, the pressure on the trainers to be clean would be significant.
        And for whatever it’s worth, it’s always good to see your opinions here Barry.

        • Neigh Sayer

          Having your horse disqualified and losing all the purse money, I’d say is a pretty hefty “fine.”

          • worldb.free

            Neigh, you are right. To the average barn of five horses that would be devastating in some cases. But when we are talking about Navarro there is no fine (not even $100k) that would hurt a man earning that much a week. When Lukas won the derby with Thunder Gulch his people won more than $5 million betting against Ladbrooks and Mecca. Putting the horse, trainer and owner into 180 day suspension would stop a lot of it. Pressing criminal charges when appropriate would stop almost all of it.

          • Blue Larkspur

            Federal RICO laws should be enforced

        • lastromntribune

          A horse fails a test after a race, the owner is fined the amount of the purse. The entire purse…..that’s crazy. the trainer is the caretaker…he is responsible. the horse being suspended for 6 months or more would be a good punishment. and reaming the trainer over it. that would cause the owners to not risk putting there horses with cheaters…..if your left with a horse that cant run for 6 months or more that is a pretty good way to change bad behavior.

          • Tony

            I’m ok with your suggestion. The horse is out 6 months. That might work. My point is that owners would be more discriminate regarding the trainers they hire if they, the owner, was at greater financial risk in the case of cheating.

          • Ben van den Brink

            A financial incentitive would surely help, as from this point: as some owners are looking out for trainers that does not bother about cheating ( a different way for dooiing buisiness)

        • Good idea for sure. Owners that use cheaters deserve to pay a fine and, more than that, be stigmatized.

        • greg

          Tony, I’ve spoken to literally dozens of trainers with this proposal: A horse has a positive test lose purse etc. Trainer has a 2nd dirty test and NO HORSE under that trainers care can run anywhere for 45 days, they can be transferred to another trainer but cannot run, they almost all agreed that would almost immediately stop the nonsense. Today cheaters are rewarded by being given more horses, but if an owner has to keep paying training bills, etc. and cannot run if they’re trainer is dirty, no owner would want a horse in that barn for fear of the trainer getting another positive and the owner’s screwed. Think about it, so far it’s one of the best ideas I’ve seen

      • louisville race fan

        i’m having a problem with this guy being suspended because of his owners lack of class and obnoxious behavior ,is that now a crime? if so we might not have a presi>>>d!!!!

        • The reasons now being given for not allowing this trainer to either race or have horses on the grounds of some racetracks (discrediting the game, etc.) will surely be challenged in court. It will be interesting to see if this offense holds up under legal scrutiny. If it does, it may help a lot, but it is awfully subjective and goes against the American legal tradition of “innocent until proven guilty.” Certainly the due process crowd will find it distasteful. On the other hand, depending on the track or association, racetracks are private property and the owners have certain rights that could stand up in court. At least something proactive is being tried.

      • Concerned Observer

        I see so many good trainers that in the past did not fully realize that the cheater was hurting them directly, personally, financially.

        But i think the light has come on. More seem willing to tell the HBPA to quit supporting the crooks. That is a small step in the right direction.

        But you are right. The cleanup can only come from the outside.

      • Suivez Moi

        This reply is a reply to all the people who said the answer is to fine the owners. Ridiculous !! Trainers are told to treat owners like mushrooms and keep them in the dark. Owners don’t have a clue what is being given to their horses. And there is no way for them to find out. The trainer and the Vet will not tell the truth. Vet bills don’t even have the real medications listed. Here is how to get rid of the cheats. The super trainers. $25,000 fine for the first infraction. $50,000 for the second infraction. The third time you are fined $100,000 and out for 5 years in any racing jurisdiction.

  • Larry sterne

    Owners, do your due diligence before your hire a trainer. It’s your responsibility. You must protect your horse and your incestment. You are not a victim in this circumstance, but a slack owner.

    • Too many win-hungry owners flock to the juicers. And they are not the littlest fish in the pond.

    • FunnyReply

      Who is having an “incestment”? That is a totally different case.

    • There is one owner who is the poster child for the enabling owner. Over the last 20 years he has given the large bulk of his horses mainly to cheating trainers. He is uncanny in spotting them early and supporting them. Everybody know who he is, yet nobody ever says or does anything about it. And the tracks’ publicity departments and our industry’s media on air and in print treat him like a legit member of our “sport.”

      • Kevin Callinan

        Barbara Hopkins

  • Barry

    Has anyone heard of something called the First Amendment?

    • worldb.free

      You mean yelling “crowded” in a burning theater? LOL. You mean yelling, “fixed race, you dirty mo-fo, as I juiced my horses again and again and steal your money” … Sorry. Not covered under 1st Amend.

    • Tom in Chandler

      So how was Gindi prevented from speaking?
      Sorry, the First Amendment doesn’t immunize the speaker from reaction.

    • Blue Larkspur

      Have you heard of pleading the fifth?

    • Yes, we’ve all heard of it. Perhaps the real question is whether you understand it.

      • Barry

        I am a lawyer who does not understand how saying something can cost you $5,000 when there was no injury. Who is being compensated here and why?

        • I believe that anybody making a living or having an investment in the industry was harm and may very well suffer damages due to this episode. Obviously, however, damages cannot be assessed at this early time.

  • Buywithgold

    U are so right it happens at every track when some one wins races at a high rate people accuse them of cheating!!!! But if u dont win races they accuse u of not taking good care of there horses and not training them proper!!!! No matter what we do we cant please the public!!!! As for fellow trainers shooting there mouths off I find they are just jealous!!!!! So what we we gotta do is keep winning races and pay no attention to everyone else!!!!!

  • Gate To Wire

    Don’t read this story and think this is isolated to Navarro, Monmouth and just trainers running claiming horses.
    Watch some races in New York, Florida, Kentucky and California….including Graded Stakes races.
    It’s like watching Lance climb French Alps…..he never got tired and he just pulled away.

    If it looks unnatural and seems too good to be real….then it probably wasn’t

  • lastromntribune

    Paolucci , Randal Gindi and Jorge Navarro are made for each other…win at any cost…..loudmouths….the game would be better off without them. just one mans opinion….sooner or later you can bet it will come to pass.

  • lastromntribune

    you use a juice trainer because your morally bankrupt…no other reason. you really don’t give a hoot about what your giving those horses….what do you think …they stick that syringe in there butt and try it out first ?

  • lastromntribune

    god could not win at 42%. stop being naïve and or stupid.

    • Jack The Ripper

      As I’ve said on a previous post. This guy started 51 more horses than one previous year and won 34 of those starts. Who the hell goes 34 win on 51 starts. Steph curry couldn’t make 34 of 51 3pt attempts. Navarro must speak horse or something to be this good with claimers who seem to spring to life like extras from the thriller video when they get to his barn.

  • Blue Larkspur

    Perhaps it is time for owners to make the effort to seek out clean trainers – fining them would probably do the trick

  • theosmachine

    Here we go again!

  • Michael Antoniades

    Here is a prime example of why thoroughbred racing can’t function properly without a commissioner or a racing commission that oversees the industry with unlimited authority.
    Let’s say an MLB owner and the team trainer were watching a game in the owners box. A questionable player hits a towering home run. The owner and the trainer talk about the player being on the juice
    all the way around the bases. Then the owner says we f*** everyone.
    And then he says how he lines his pockets with $20,000 from the bookies.
    What do you think would happen to the owner and trainer in MLB under the same circumstances? Until we can deal with these situations in the same manner as the major sports do, racing can never reach its full potential.

  • Flintstone

    The owner must have had this very race day in mind when they took all that trouble and expense to purchase and ship an IND.bred from Woodbine. Too bad there is no video of that conversation.

  • With the right owners and stock I would love to try California. Right now we can barely win where we are currently at :(

    • Tom in Chandler

      Karl, at the 2017 Evangeline meet you won 86 races from 246 starters, a 35% winning percentage. On our planet, you were leading trainer. On what planet are you not winning?

  • In my opinion California is home to a guy that I rank as one of the two biggest cheaters on a major scale in North America. So I don’t know what in the heck you are writing about. Everybody talks about it in private, but nobody writes about it in public, because nobody wants to get sued. California authorities are well aware of it and so are rival trainers. And don’t ask me to name him because I don’t want to get sued either.

    • Tom in Chandler

      Thanks for replying. You really sent a chill, as I follow California racing closely, or so I thought. There’s one sort of obvious big name, but he wins at like 18%. Otherwise I would be clueless as to whom. And that’s very scary to me. I obviously equate 20% with no real cheating, and that’s wrong.
      Ruh roh.
      Can it at least be said there are fewer cheaters? Or I am kidding myself again?

  • larry outlaw

    What planet are you from,Uranus!

  • JN

    Its the owner not the trainer.

  • Speedontherail

    No mention of horseplayers in this discussion. Jorge Navarro and other obvious cheaters (designer juice, off label meds, cobra venom or what have you) ruin the handicapping experience of all horseplayers at the cheaters track. Personally I would never play a race at Monmouth with a .40% trainer lurking in the bushes. Can’t bet on them and can’t bet against them. These trainers skew any objective handicapping look at a particular race. Horseplayers would be wise to skip tracks and/or races with these marvels of modern medicine present. I am not willing to support a track that is complicit with obvious cheating.

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