'Egregious Breach ... Of Fundamental Responsibility': Trainer Potts Under Scrutiny By NYRA - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Egregious Breach … Of Fundamental Responsibility’: Trainer Potts Under Scrutiny By NYRA

Wayne Potts

The New York Racing Association is gathering facts for a possible administrative hearing that could lead to the suspension of trainer Wayne Potts from participation or stabling at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga racetracks.

The move comes after Potts received a 30-day suspension and $1,000 fine in New Jersey for allegedly directing assistant Bonnie Lucas not to allow the filly Chispita to be vanned off on an equine ambulance – as ordered by a regulatory veterinarian – after a second-place finish in a claiming race at Monmouth Park on Aug. 6, 2021.

A claim was submitted for Chispita in that race, but New Jersey Racing Commission rules state that a claim may be voided if a horse is vanned off. The claim was subsequently voided.

Lucas, also listed as the owner, received  a 30-day suspension as well as a $1,000 fine.

The 30-day ban is just the latest sanction against Potts, who was suspended 20 days in New York last year for violating claiming rules and also in 2021 received a 15-day suspension for a medication violation in New Jersey. In 2020, he was excluded by track management from participating at Maryland Jockey Club tracks for allegedly operating as a program trainer for Marcus Vitali, who was also banned by the MJC. In 2019, Potts was suspended in Delaware for non-payment of invoices from a veterinary firm. Three years before that, Potts was fined in Maryland for operating his racing stable without workers' compensation insurance for nearly seven months. It was only after an exercise rider was injured that it was discovered that the workers' comp policy had been cancelled.

“In just the last five months, Wayne Potts has been suspended by both the New York State Gaming Commission and the New Jersey Racing Commission due to conduct in direct violation of the rules of racing,” said Pat McKenna, vice president of communications for the New York Racing Association. “Most recently, Mr. Potts was proven to have jeopardized the health and safety of a horse by refusing to allow the horse to enter an equine ambulance as directed by a regulatory veterinarian. This is a particularly egregious breach of his most fundamental responsibility as a trainer – to ensure the well-being of horses under his care.

“NYRA has afforded Mr. Potts the privilege of stabling and racing at our venues, but this pattern of conduct calls into question whether he should continue to enjoy that privilege. NYRA is gathering the necessary facts to support a statement of charges and a formal administrative hearing to potentially suspend Mr. Potts from participating in racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. In the near term, NYRA is determining immediate options such as revoking his stall allotment at Belmont Park.”

Chispita has not raced since running for a $7,500 claiming price in that Aug. 6 race.

Potts told Daily Racing Form's David Grening he intends to appeal the New Jersey suspension. Grening also reported Potts told him Chispita is “turned out on a farm.”

The Paulick Report was subsequently contacted by Florida horsewoman Julie Ramgeet, who said she facilitated the private sale of Chispita from trainer David Fawkes to Potts last year. Ramgeet, who said her policy is to follow up on all horses she sells after their racing careers end, said Chispita has been retired from racing and is serving as a riding horse for a young person.

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