SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> A man banned from Saratoga Race Course went back to work Friday, two weeks before the start of the 2017 meet on July 21.
James Napolitana came north from Kentucky with Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito this spring.
But he said New York Racing Association took back his badge, which allowed him to work, only hours after issuing it without explanation.
Because he wasn’t allowed on the track, Napolitana couldn’t use backstretch worker housing and was living out of his car after arriving in Saratoga.
Zito and attorney Andrew Mollica, of Garden City, Long Island, sided with Napolitana and got NYRA to let him back, pending completion of a roughly month-long program with the Backstretch Employee Service Team, which helps stable workers.
“He’s back on the track, working for Nick Zito,” Mollica said. “He’s met all of the conditions NYRA has set up and I expect no problems.”
NYRA has declined comment on the situation, citing its legal nature.
“The guy’s back working,” Zito said. “He’s walking horses, putting horses in the pen, doing all kinds of odd jobs. He’s a good worker.”
The New York State Gaming Commission regulates all racing and gaming in the state.
Spokesman Lee Park said Napolitana has a valid receipt, good through Aug. 5, 2018, which allows him to work at New York tracks.
Despite such status, track operators including NYRA have authority to prohibit individuals from the grounds, regardless of state status, he said.
Napolitana has said he worked at Saratoga Race Course from 2004-08, both for NYRA…
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