Charles Town HBPA Chief Ejected; Hearing Set

The president of the Charles Town Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has been ruled off the grounds of Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races pending a hearing on a request for a temporary restraining order.

Ken Lowe was ejected Sept. 23 for 14 days for signing off on flyers handed out in the Charles Town stable area. The flyers announced a meeting of the HBPA at which the special election for West Virginia governor was to be discussed, according to individuals close to the situation.

Charles Town HBPA executive director Maria Catinagni, who recently was hired after serving in a similar capacity for the Mountaineer HBPA, confirmed Oct. 1 that Lowe had been ejected. She said a hearing on the request for a temporary restraining order was scheduled for Oct. 3.

Erich Zimny, director of racing operations for Charles Town, which is owned by Penn National Gaming Inc., said Oct. 2 the racetrack doesn’t comment on pending legal matters.

Charles Town has a stable area guide that lists house rules. In Lowe’s ejection letter, the racetrack said: “There is a no-solicitation policy which includes, but is not limited to, circulation of petitions, political flyers, or distribution of literature not approved in advance in writing by the racetrack.”

Meanwhile, the West Virginia Racing Commission, which is in a legal battle with PNGI over the ejection of jockeys from Charles Town two years ago, allowed one of Lowe’s horses to race at the West Virginia track while he was ejected. The horse finished third, and the WVRC ordered that Lowe be paid the purse money.

Lowe, who is said to have been “warned” about a meeting he had with jockeys in August, is the latest WVRC-licensed individual to have been ejected from Charles Town, which has become an industry battleground over exclusion rights.

Seven jockeys were ejected in 2009 in a case over alleged weigh-in fraud, though several still ride at Charles Town as a legal case continues. About seven years ago, Dick and Janene Watson, the former Charles Town HBPA president and executive director, respectively, were banned by the track in a case related to the business of the Charles Town HBPA; neither party pursued charges against the Watsons.

 

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