Convicted Trainer Gets Another Chance in WV

A trainer who pleaded guilty in 2010 on drug charges was granted a conditional occupational permit by the West Virginia Racing Commission May 21, but he was told the license has "zero tolerance" conditions.

Angelo Jackson, who last saddled a horse in 2010, was sentenced in United States District Court in Martinsburg, W.Va., to 36 months in prison followed by six years of probation for distribution of cocaine. That followed a conviction in 1998 for selling drugs to undercover police officers in Charles Town, W.Va., and shooting one of the officers in the foot.

Jackson, who did not serve the full sentence for the 2010 incident but remains on probation, attended the April 16 WVRC meeting to request an occupational permit. At the meeting, Jackson said he was licensed by the WVRC after serving time for the 1998 charges.

According to Equibase, Jackson trained horses at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in 2009-10. He had 18 wins and 29 seconds and thirds from 113 starts.

The licensing request was tabled April 16 but revisited during an executive session at the May 21 meeting. The commission then voted to grant Jackson a conditional permit.

"I came here today expecting to vote against this application," WVRC member Greg McDermott said. "However, we as a commission have come to learn that some individuals whose opinions we trust have faith (in Jackson). We've been persuaded that Mr. Jackson should be given an occupational permit under a conditional approval order.

McDermott told Jackson the commission has serious concerns over his prior convictions.

"I'm not going to lecture, but we ask you to please not disappoint those who have spoken on your behalf," McDermott said.

McDermott called the conditional order "zero tolerance."

It remains to be seen whether Jackson will be permitted to train horses at Charles Town or Mountaineer, as both have the right to exclude individuals even if they have a state racing license.

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