Parx-Based Trainer Pearce Hit With 1,950-Day Suspension

Sarah Andrew


Trainer Penny Pearce has been issued a suspension of 1,950 days and fined $23,500 by the Pennsylvania Racing Commission after six horses under her care tested positive for clenbuterol during out-of-competition tests.

The penalties were announced after her barn at Parx was inspected June 22. During the inspection, investigators also found hypodermic needles, syringes and injectable substances. The suspension is scheduled to run from Sept. 11, 2022 through Jan. 12, 2028.

The Paulick Report was first with the story and has also reported that Pearce has filed an appeal.

Pearce began training in 2012 and, prior to 2021, never won more than 16 races in a year. During the 2012-to-2020 period, her winning rate was 11%. That changed in 2021 when she went 32-for-137 (23%). Her success has continued this year as she has posted a record of 23-for-84 (27%).

In June of 2021, Pearce reportedly hired former trainer Ramon Preciado as a groom. In 2016, Preciado's owner and trainer licenses were revoked after a horse he trained named Purcell (Jump Start) tested positive for clenbuterol in a post-race test. In the ruling covering Purcell, the racing commission noted that Preciado had a record of “multiple medication violations.” Despite Preciado's record of violations, the racing commission decided to grant him a groom's license and he went to work for Pearce.

The Pearce-trained horses that tested positive for clenbuterol were Mischievous Jones (Smarty Jones), Musamaha (Jack Milton), Relativlea (Lea), Call Me GQ (Weigelia), Market Maven (Super Ninety Nine) and an unnamed horse. Had there been just one clenbuterol positive, Pearce would have received a suspension of just 30 days. Instead, the commission used an escalating scale, with the number of days she was suspended increasing with each subsequent positive. For the sixth positive, she was suspended for 960 days.

“In accordance with ARCI medication and penalty guidelines, based upon the number of medication positives, the board of stewards finds aggravating circumstances in these matters,” the ruling reads.

In June, Monmouth Park stewards suspended Pearce for 15 days and fined her $500 after a horse she trained tested positive for clenbuterol following a May 29 race at the Jersey Shore track.

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