Wehrman Ban Upheld; Grove Appeals Ruling

The West Virginia Racing Commission dealt with several cases Sept. 24.

The West Virginia Racing Commission Sept. 24 upheld a hearing examiner's recommendation that Randy Wehrman, the former racing secretary at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, be barred from seeking an occupational permit for two years per a stewards' ruling.

Wehrman, who was fired by Charles Town for allegedly soliciting a loan from two horsemen based there, appealed the stewards ruling, which was handed down Feb. 1 of this year. His permit was revoked with the condition that he not seek another permit for a minimum of two years, and that he come before the WVRC to apply for one.

The hearing into the case was held in April in Charles Town. At the hearing, WVRC senior deputy attorney general Kelli Talbott said trainers John McKee and Cynthia O'Bannon cut a check for Wehrman in the amount of $700 in November 2012. McKee at the hearing said Wehrman had told him he was short on rent, but he had no further details.

McKee also stated Wehrman, as racing secretary, "was probably tougher on me than he was on other (horsemen)."

Charles Town steward Ismael Trejo, when asked at the hearing why Wehrman's license was revoked for two years, said lines were crossed. "It would be like a boxer exchanging money with a referee in matches," he said.

McKee was fined $1,500 and O'Bannon $1,000, according to testimony.

In other business Sept. 24, Talbott said she received notice Sept. 23 that trainer Chris Grove, suspended by Charles Town stewards for a Class I positive test, has appealed to Kanawha County Circuit Court and has filed a claim for $75,000 in damages. No other information was available.

The WVRC Aug. 20 upheld the suspension of Grove for a 2012 positive test after a race at Charles Town. Stewards at the track earlier this year suspended the Maryland-based Grove for six months and fined him $5,000 after Bubba de France won and tested positive for the stimulant nikethamide, also called Coramine. Class I drugs carry the most severe penalties.

Talbott at the time indicated it wasn't determined how the substance got into the horse's system, but there is a trainer responsibility rule.