Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Ariz.
Trainer Juan Pablo Silva-Pantoja (Juan Pablo Silva on Equibase) has been fined $2,500 and suspended 180 days after stewards at Turf Paradise said they believe he ran a horse named Juror in the fourth race on March 10 at the Phoenix, Ariz., track “knowing he was sore and unfit to race.”
The sanctions are for “conducting business in a manner detrimental to the best interest of horse racing” and the ruling has been forwarded to the director of the Arizona Department of Racing with recommendation for further action “up to and including revocation of license.”
Juror, sent postward in the $3,500 maiden claiming race, was bet down to a prohibitive 1-20 favorite after finishing second while carrying a $30,000 claiming price in his previous start on Feb. 1 – his first for trainer Silva and 13th race overall.
Jockey Fausto Henrique Rodrigues Da Silva pulled up Juror and took him out of the race shortly after the field broke from the starting gate in the one-mile event. He was claimed from the race by trainer Eliska Kubinova on behalf of Gary and Deborah Lusk and remains their property because Arizona does not have a voided claim rule. Claims are considered valid once a horse leaves the starting gate.
Jockey Da Silva was suspended 30 days for his role in the incident, the ruling saying the rider failed to take his mount “to the track vet for an examination after he suspected that the horse might have an injury.” Da Silva has appealed and has been granted a stay of the 30-day ban.
The ruling against trainer Silva was issued on Wednesday, March 30, following a two-day hearing during which statements from jockey Da Silva, track veterinarian Dr. Alyssa Butler and state veterinarian Dr. Susan Gale were considered.
“Furthermore,” the rulings states, “aggravating circumstances include trainer Juan Pablo Silva-Pantoja perjuring himself during the hearing by giving false statements under oath and his history of multiple rule violations.”
Butler attended to Juror after he was pulled up and held by outrider Shawna Whiteside. According to Butler’s statement, Da Silva soon arrived on the scene and told Butler there was nothing wrong with the horse. blamed the jockey, and began to walk and trot him around on the track.
Butler’s statement said she observed Juror in the paddock and while walking and trotting during the post parade and warm-up prior to the start, adding, “The warm-up was minimal as Juror walked for the majority of the time. There were no overt signs of lameness during any of my observations.”
According to Butler’s statement, Da Silva said, “I may have told the jockey he was a little sore, but I don’t understand why he just pulled him up.”
Juror had blood taken from Juror for testing and he has been placed on the vet’s list.
Dr. Gale, the state veterinarian, said she conducted a pre-race inspection of Juror in the stable area that day and was warned by trainer Silva, “Watch out Doctor, this horse is a son of a bitch and will try to strike you.”
Gale’s statement said she attempted to lift Juror’s left front leg, but the horse “pulled back and reared. “I tried again with the same result. Out of concern for safety, I chose to observe the horse jog and no lameness was perceptible.”
After Juror was pulled up in the race, Gale tried to examine the horse’s front legs again in the test barn.
“When I tried to lift the left front leg, the horse pulled back,” she said. “I went to examine the right front leg. The horse allowed palpation and full flexion of the right front leg. I went back to examine the left front leg and each time I tried to lift or flex the leg the horse pulled back or tried to rear. Immediately following the exam, the horse was lame on the left front leg at the walk and trot.”
Trainer Silva has numerous violations in multiple jurisdictions, according to ThoroughbredRulings.com, including a 2008 license revocation from the Arizona Department of Racing that gives as the reason: “being of not good repute or moral character.” Silva has won 446 races since 1997 but he had no starters from June 2008 until April 2014.
The suspension is scheduled to run from April 10 through Oct. 7. The fine (which totals $2,625 after a 5 percent Race Horse Adoption Fund surcharge), is to be paid within 10 days of the date of the ruling.
During the term of his suspension, Silva is denied access to all grounds under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Department of Racing and all horses owned or trained by Silva are denied entry to race pending sale or transfer approved by the board of stewards.