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BRUNO BELLUCCI v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/27/82)

decided: May 27, 1982.

BRUNO BELLUCCI, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE HORSE RACING COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. BRUNO BELLUCCI, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE HORSE RACING COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. PENN NATIONAL RACING ASSOCIATION ET AL., INTERVENORS



Appeals from the Orders of the State Horse Racing Commission in cases of In Re: Bruno Bellucci, No. 80-004, and In Re: Bruno Bellucci, No. 80-086.

COUNSEL

Richard J. Makoul, for petitioner.

Samuel F. Meisenhelder, for respondent.

Terry R. Bossert, with him Edward C. First, Jr., McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for intervenors, Penn National Racing Association, Shamrock Racing Association and Mountainview Racing Association.

Judges Craig, MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle. Judge Mencer did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Doyle

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 633]

In this consolidated appeal, the petitioner, Bruno Bellucci (Petitioner), appeals from three orders of the State Horse Racing Commission (Commission), an independent administrative commission charged with the regulation of all pari-mutuel thoroughbred horse racing activities in Pennsylvania. At No. 1959 C.D. 1981, Petitioner requests our review of two Commission orders dated July 24, 1981, which affirmed two orders of the Board of Stewards of Penn National Race Track (Board) dated November 23, 1980 and December 31, 1980 which, inter alia, suspended Petitioner from racing for violations of Commission regulations pertaining to the supervision of horses. At No. 2308 C.D. 1981, Petitioner requests our review of a Commission order dated September 15, 1981, affirming three notices of ejectment issued pursuant to the provisions of Section 2662.1(c) of the Act of December 11, 1967 (Racing Act), P.L. 707, as amended, added by Section 1 of the Act of July 24, 1970, P.L. 634, 15 P.S. ยง 2662.1(c), by the Penn National Racing Association, the Shamrock Racing Association, and the Mountainview Racing Association. We will affirm in both cases.

The facts in these cases are not in dispute. Petitioner was the trainer of a horse named "Brave Knight" which finished first in the second race at the Penn National Race Track on October 13, 1980. Chemical analysis of urine and split samples*fn1 taken from

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 634]

"Brave Knight" following this race indicated the presence of the drug nalbuphine, a narcotic analgesic that is not naturally found in horses. Section 163.302 of Title 58 of the Pennsylvania Code (Code) provides in pertinent part that

[i]t shall be the intent . . . of this title (relating to illegal practices) to protect the integrity of horse racing, to guard the health of the horse, and to safeguard the interests of the public and the racing participants through the prohibition or control of all drugs and medications or substances foreign to the natural horse. In this context:

(1) No horse participating in a race shall carry in its body any substance foreign to the natural horse. . . .

Section 163.303 of Title 58 of the Code, in turn, provides in pertinent part that

(b) A finding by the Chemist that a foreign substance is present in the test sample shall be prima facie evidence that such foreign substance was administered and carried in the body of the horse while participating in a race. Such a finding shall also be taken as prima facie evidence that the trainer and his agents responsible for the care or custody of the horse has been, had been, or may have been negligent in the handling or care of the horse. (Emphasis added.)

Following a hearing before the Board on the "Brave Knight" drugging incident conducted on November 19, 1980, the Board issued a ruling which concluded, inter alia, that Petitioner had violated the Commission regulations noted above, and which ordered (1) that Petitioner be suspended from racing for a period of sixty (60) days, ...


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