By: Matt Hegarty

The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission has upheld a decision by Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa., to ban trainer Eduardo Rojas, who is married to a trainer who recently was convicted on 14 charges of misbranding drugs and conspiracy related to horses she trained.

Penn National issued the permanent ban in early July, several days after a jury returned a guilty verdict against Murray Rojas, Eduardo Rojas’s wife, on the misbranding and conspiracy charges. The charges were based on actions by Murray Rojas involving horses that raced at Penn National in 2013.

Under Pennsylvania racing rules, trainers can appeal ejections from racetracks to the racing commission. The commission had earlier granted a stay of Penn National’s decision until a hearing could be conducted.

Racetracks have broad powers to bar licensees under the grounds of protecting the interests of the betting public.

Eduardo Rojas had started only two horses in the decade prior to 2015, but after his wife’s license was revoked by the racing commission that year, when the charges were filed, he started 169 horses in 2015 and 199 horses in 2016. He has started 117 horses this year.

In a statement, John Finamore, Penn National’s senior vice president of regional operations, said the track was “pleased” with the commission’s decision to uphold the ban.

“Penn National Race Course will continue to take any and all actions necessary within its power to protect the integrity of racing and the welfare of race horses at its racetrack,” the statement said.