By Frank Angst
Trainer Juan C. Vazquez is slowly running out of Mid-Atlantic tracks at which to run his horses after Delaware Park informed the trainer he is no longer welcome to race his horse there.
On June 30 Delaware Park chief executive officer Bill Fasy said the track had barred the trainer from entering horses. Fasy declined to offer any further comment on the track’s decision.
In the past year at Delaware, Vazquez has been sanctioned for fighting with a jockey and has twice been cited for equine medication violations. A source close to the situation said Vazquez could face additional regulatory action in Delaware, but the source would not elaborate if those actions would concern the trainer’s personal conduct or an equine drug positive.
On June 28 the Delaware Park stewards fined Vazquez $500 and assessed a point toward the Association of Racing Commissioners International point system after John Fanelli and King Star’s Edyanne tested positive for methylprednisolone (Medrol) after finishing second in the first race May 18.
The stewards issued the sanctions after Vazquez waived his right to a split sample test. Methylprednisolone, a corticosteroid, is a Class IV medication—second-lowest class of five—on the RCI Uniform Classification of Foriegn Substances and calls for a Class C penalty.
Last year the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission suspended Vazquez three months for fighting with a jockey near the scale area at Delaware Park. Vazquez was arrested on charges of simple assault June 23 after hitting jockey Trevor McCarthy in the winner’s circle.
Last year Vazquez was fined $500 and assessed one point in the RCI violation point system when King Star’s Rock Slide Johnny tested positive for dexamethasone after winning the third race July 9. Dexamethasone also is a corticosteroid listed as Class IV.
In 2013 the DTRC suspended Vazquez three weeks for the use of boldenone, which is an anabolic androgenic steroid.
From 92 total starts this season, Vazquez has a 17-14-16 record and earnings of $288,748. Vazquez ranks 10th in earnings at the current Delaware Park meet with a record of 6-6-4 from 29 starts and $96,115 in earnings.
The move by Delaware to ban Vazquez follows the February decision by Maryland Jockey Club to bar Vazquez from racing at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course. The decisions to ban Vazquez are being made by the individual tracks and racing associations as opposed to state regulators.
While state racing regulators have agreements in place to recognize suspensions put in place in other states, there are no such agreements between tracks. While Vazquez was banned by the MJC in February, he has started horses this year at Belmont Park, Delaware Park, Parx Racing, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.
Vazquez most recently sent out a pair of horses June 29 at Parx, where he has made most of his starts this season, registering a 6-4-7 record from 39 starts and earnings of $128,725.
DTRC executive director John Wayne said he does not have a problem with tracks taking action, noting that he worked for tracks for many years where problem horsemen or jockeys were banned. Wayne noted that tracks can take action that typically is swift and decisive when compared with regulatory bodies, which need to avail alleged wrongdoers due process and appeals.
The MJC booted Vazquez after the Maryland Racing Commission suspended trainer Hector Garcia, a longtime Vazquez assistant who had two horses test positive for a compounded form of Winstrol—synthetic stanozolol—after winning races in December. Garcia had another stanozolol positive in January and also had a horse test positive for the tranquilizer xylazine in December.
The Garcia positive occurred while Vazquez was serving a 90-day suspension late last year and he had transferred horses to his assistant. With Vazquez’s suspension set to end Feb. 13, MJC officials opted to ban Vazquez rather than see horses recently trained by Garcia transferred back to Vazquez to race at Laurel.
Vazquez said in February that he was surprised to learn of the MJC’s decision. He said he did not work with Garcia in training the horses in question. During his suspension, Vazquez said he spent time with his new daughter and traveled on vacation.
“I wasn’t there, but they’re blaming me,” Vazquez said at the time.