By Ray Paulick

Pennsylvania-based Thoroughbred trainer Darrel Delahoussaye was arrested by State Police Wednesday morning and charged with several felonies and misdemeanors alleging theft by deception, illegally administering drugs to racehorses, rigging a publicly exhibited contest and tampering with physical evidence in an investigation that began last fall.

The 47-year-old trainer was arraigned, with bond set at $20,000. Delahoussaye posted bail and was released.

The Paulick Report has learned the two charges of theft by deception—both third-degree felonies—resulted from allegations dating back to October 2009 that Delahoussaye financially benefited from races on which people wagered and from which he is said to have illegally administered drugs and other substances to horses under his care. The other charges—first-degree misdemeanors—allege that Delahoussaye prevented a public event (a horse race) from being conducted according to rules, that he illegally administered drugs prior to a race, and tampered with horses in order to benefit. The Associated Press reported that the pain killer snake venom was one of the drugs used. The AP also reported Delahoussaye was charged with reselling three injured horses after promising they would be retired to a petting zoo with at least one of those horses racing three times in Massachusetts.

The indictment and subsequent arrest of Delahoussaye is the first charge to emerge from a lengthy grand jury investigation into the activities at Penn National racetrack that remains ongoing. Numerous individuals have testified in front of the grand jury and sources indicate more indictments are likely.

Delahoussaye's name was immersed in controversy earlier this year at Penn National when a horse he trained for Michael Gill, Laughing Moon, broke down in a race and was the catalyst for a boycott by jockeys, who refused to ride in races in which Gill's horses were entered. They cited their own safety and that of the horses as the reason for the boycott, saying that a higher than usual number of horses owned by Gill were breaking down. Gill subsequently fired Delahoussaye.

Delahoussaye has a lengthy list of rulings in the Association of Racing Commissioners International database going back to 1984, when his license was revoked for a felony conviction. He was eligible for reinstatement in 1993. Since then, he has had at least two suspensions for possession of needles, syringes, and injectable drugs (one in Ohio in 1998 and another in Michigan in 2000), and in 1998 he was banned by the Ohio Racing Commission for one year for an incident at Beulah Park when he was ruled to have “mistreated, abused or engaged in an act of cruelty to a horse” and used an “appliance other than whip for the purpose of stimulating speed.” The appliance was described in court documents as a “wooden stick with stripped electrical cords stuck to it.” A veterinarian and two assistants testified seeing a horse at Beulah Park “jump two or three feet in the air” and then witnessed Delahoussaye unplugging an electrical cord from the wall. Delahoussaye appealed the case but ultimately lost.

In June, Penn National management revoked Delahoussaye's stall privileges at the Grantville, Pa., track, and he has since been stabled at the nearby Sandomar training farm, where he has 20 stalls, according to the farm's co-owner Sandor Horvath. He has continued to run horses at Penn National.

“He takes care of his horses immaculately,” said Horvath. “He's been here about three months and slowly building up his stable, claiming a few horses at Philadelphia Park and Monmouth. I don't know anything about any arrest.”

An official with the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission said the commission had not yet seen the indictment and could not comment.

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