Two jockeys suspended at Charles Town Races & Slots picked up mounts at the West Virginia track April 18 in the wake of a court order allowing them to access the grounds and to compete in races pending a hearing.
Seven jockeys were each suspended 30 days and fined $1,000 by track management for allegedly misrepresenting their weights. In addition, clerk of scales Michael Garrison was fined and suspended. The alleged actions were said to be caught on camera.
Two of the riders—Anthony Mawing and Larry Reynolds—rode April 18 after late jockey changes. The other five riders are Alexis Rios-Conde, Tony Maragh, Luis Perez, Jesus Sanchez, and Dale Whittaker.
The Jockeys’ Guild was granted a temporary restraining order April 16. Later the same day, Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge L.D. Egnor ordered Charles Town to acknowledge the temporary restraining order.
According to the Guild, the judge’s order states, in part: “If the track bars the plaintiffs from racing at the track, the irreparable harm that caused the court to issue the TRO would go unabated. Such conduct would render the court’s TRO a nullity and frustrate the court’s authority to ensure compliance with its lawful orders.
“Therefore, the court orders that PNGI Charles Town Gaming shall not restrict or impede the rights of the plaintiffs to enter the track and engage in their legitimate racing activities. The suspensions of the plaintiffs’ racing permits are stayed, and until the TRO expires, the track may not impair or impede the plaintiffs’ rights to engage in activities consistent with the plaintiffs’ rights to engage in activities consistent with the plaintiffs’ racing permits.”
Guild national manager Terry Meyocks said the organization “had no choice but to go back to court to secure the rights of the jockeys involved which had already been recognized by the court.” Meyocks said the jockeys haven’t received their due process.
The case comes as Charles Town parent Penn National Gaming Inc. is fighting in court to keep the West Virginia Racing Commission from holding hearings to reconsider the company’s ejection of three individuals that own and train horses. An attorney for Dick and Janene Watson and Patty Burns said the case could be precedent-setting in regard to racetrack exclusions and the powers of racing regulators.