New York State Racing and Wagering Board Revokes Paragallo License

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board on July 22 revoked the license of owner Ernie Paragallo, whose Paraneck Stable sent out numerous stakes horses over the years.

The regulatory agency stripped Paragallo of his owner's license after a finding of "financial irresponsibility" for his failure to pay money he owed to the University of Pennsylvania. Racing board spokeswoman Stacy Clifford said Paragallo owed $18,000 to the university for industry related expenses.

Clifford said the state licensing agency began an investigation of Paragallo following a complaint that he owed $500,000 to Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.; that bill was paid. But, she said, the Pennsylvania expense wasn't, leading to an order to show cause served on Paragallo to revoke his license. The state board's action July 22 accepted a hearing officer's recommendation that his license be revoked, though he can re-apply for it in a year if the judgment is satisfied.

Paragallo could not be reached for comment. Messages left at Paraneck Stable were not immediately returned.

Last year, Paragallo, citing health issues, said he was selling off all his horses, except his stallions. In all, he planned to sell about 300 horses. Among his most successful horses were Unbridled's Song and Artax.

Paragallo bought Unbridled's Song in 1994 for $200,000, and later sold the horse to Hiroshi Fujita for $1.4 million. The sale was revoked, though, over a possible ankle problem. At the time, Paragallo said, "They've just made the biggest mistake of their lives. They'll never find another horse as good as this one. I didn't want to sell him anyway. We're going to win the Breeders' Cup with this colt, and they're going to wish they never brought the matter up." The horse went on to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and the Florida Derby (gr. I), and Wood Memorial (gr. II).

Paragallo, 47, is a Brooklyn native. The New York Racing Association Web page biography of Paragallo states that his principle occupation is as an investment banker and computer software executive. It says he became involved in buying Thoroughbreds with Paraneck in 1991, and was the leading buyer of yearlings and 2-year-olds in Kentucky, Saratoga, and Florida in 1993 and 1994.

Racing board spokesman Dan Toomey said the board's action means Paragallo can't own horses that race in New York or collect winnings from races.