The start of the Belmont Park fall meet saw Thoroughbred owner Peter Proscia and trainer Tom Morley, both slapped with suspension orders, banned from entering the grounds or having anything to do with racing for 20 days.
The two were given the suspension order, along with fines of $5,000 apiece, for what the New York State Gaming Commission determined were "improper" acts related to how a horse—Life in Shambles—was sold after a claiming race.
Trainer Steve Asmussen and his assistant Toby Sheets were not suspended but fined $5,000 apiece for their involvement in the matter.
Life in Shambles was claimed by Morley as owner/trainer out of the ninth race at Belmont June 18 for $80,000 from Proscia, the managing owner of Paradise Farms, a firm founded in 1994 and based in Westchester County, according to New York State records.
According to a brief explanation of the suspensions, the NYSGC said Morley then sold and transferred the 6-year-old Broken Vow gelding back to Proscia July 7, as well as to Asmussen, his previous trainer, July 12.
State racing rules forbid a horse to be sold or transferred to anyone, except in a claiming race, for 30 days after a claim. The state also specifically bars a claimed horse, unless reclaimed, from remaining in the "the same stable or under the control or management of its former owner or trainer for a like period.''
Proscia and Morley were originally suspended for 30 days. Ten days were shaved off the punishment when they waived their right to appeal the state's disciplinary order.
During the 20-day period, Proscia and Morley are banned from participating—directly or indirectly—in horseracing in New York. They and all their horses are prohibited from the use of all racetracks in the state and the two men cannot share in any purses "or other payment" related to racing.
Asmussen was fined for accepting Life in Shambles back under his care and Sheets was hit with a financial penalty for acting as an authorized agent of the prohibited transfer of the horse back to Proscia and Asmussen.