By Bill Finley
The Pennsylvania board of stewards has suspended controversial trainer Juan Vazquez through Jan. 26, 2025, alleging that Vazquez shipped a horse from Belmont Park to Parx Racing in January that was in such poor condition that it had to be euthanized shortly after its arrival. In their ruling, the stewards pulled no punches, calling Vazquez's actions “grossly negligent, cruel and abusive.”
Vazquez's record includes numerous violations and suspensions. He has been banned at the tracks in Maryland and Delaware and the New York Racing Association rescinded his stalls in March.
According to the ruling, Vazquez shipped the 5-year-old mare Shining Colors (Paynter) from Belmont to Parx on Jan. 6. The horse was euthanized three days later due to a severe case of laminitis.
“The evidence presented by veterinarian witnesses and the necropsy report clearly revealed that the horse “Shining Colors” was suffering from this severe chronic condition and should never have been shipped to Parx Racing by owner/trainer Juan C. Vazquez,” the ruling read.
The ruling continues: “After considering all testimony presented and the information and evidence submitted to the board of stewards by investigators of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission, the board of stewards determine that owner/trainer Juan C. Vazquez was grossly negligent, cruel, and abusive in the shipping of the horse Shining Colors from Belmont Park to Parx Racing.”
Shining Colors was 1-for-1 lifetime and made her last start on Oct. 17, 2021 at Belmont. She was claimed by Vazquez for $20,000 on July 18 at Saratoga.
Vazquez met with the stewards on June 23 regarding whether or not his actions were a matter of conduct detrimental to the best interests of horse racing. The ruling was issued July 7.
Vazquez was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. His suspension begins July 18. He has a horse entered for the Saturday card at Parx and another at Parx next Thursday.
According to the Paulick Report, the end date of Vazquez's suspension coincides with the day his current Pennsylvania license expires. That means that he will have to apply for a new license when his suspension runs out. It is often easier to deny a person a new license than it is to revoke a current license.
This was not the first time that a Vazquez-trained horse died when shipping from one track to another. Last November, the Vazquez trained Ekhtibaar (Bernardini) was found dead in a van when it arrived at Belmont Park. At the time of the incident, the cause of death was listed as “unknown.”
Vazquez found his way into trouble earlier in 2021 when he received two consecutive 15-say suspensions from the Pennsylvania Racing Commission afer two horses he trained tested positive for the dewormer levamisole. One, Hollywood Talent (Talent Search), tested positive after winning the GIII Turf Monster S. at odds of 108-1. Having appealed those positives, he was allowed to continue to train.
Vazquez is 25-for-209 on the year and has won 773 races in his career.