Charles Town Bans Horsemen Davis, Shanyfelt

Scooter Davis was to return from six-month suspension in West Virginia Feb. 22.

While oft-sanctioned owner/trainer Scooter Davis is scheduled to return from a six-month suspension Friday, Feb. 22, he will not be allowed to train at Hollywood Casino At Charles Town Races.

Officials at Charles Town confirmed to The Blood Horse that Davis and trainer Doug Shanyfelt, who picked up many of Davis' horses during his latest suspension, have been banned from the West Virginia track. Charles Town also informed the West Virginia Racing Commission of its decision.

West Virginia Racing Commission executive director Jon Amores said its stewards are gathering information from the track and its owner, Penn National Gaming Inc. Amores said the iinvestigation also relates to Shanyfelt. West Virginia rules prohibit so-called "program trainers," who have their names in the program while a different person is making the actual decisions.

"The track has already taken action," Amores said. "They've ejected those individuals. To the degree that our stewards agree on that action, we'll also take action on their permits. But all of that is to be reviewed by the stewards."

Davis has a long record of both serious and minor violations. Just since March 4, 2011, according to the Jockey Club, Davis has had 23 violations reported at tracks in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Davis received a six-month suspension from Aug. 26, 2012 to Feb. 21, 2013 from the West Virginia Racing Commission for a Clenbuterol positive June 22, 2012 when a horse he owned and trained, Dynamic Dino, tested positive for the Class III drug. After the positive for the bronchodilator, Dynamic Dino was disqualified from his second-place finish at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort and Davis was fined $5,000.

Davis also received a 60-day suspension for a Clenbuterol positive in 2011 at Mountaineer, was fined $1,500 in Pennsylvania for a positive at Penn National Race Course for xylazine, also a class III substance; and was fined $1,000 and suspended 15 days in 2011 when the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission determined he deliberately orchestrated a scheme of deception in an effort to have his horse, Arsana, receive Salix outside the accepted protocol. The violation resulted in the scratch of Arsana at Presque Isle Downs.

In the first half of 2012 horses trained by Davis won 51 races at Charles Town and earned $722,090. Even with the missed time last year, Davis ranked in the top 100 trainers by wins with 76. Shanyfelt ranks second in wins at the current Charles Town meeting with 15.

Amores said the stewards will conduct a hearing if the current evidence suggests further investigation is warranted.

While the regulator has clashed with tracks on issues related to exclusion, Amores said a state Supreme Court decision assures due process and the WVRC is comfortable with the track's actions.

"We can certainly appreciate where they're coming from in terms of trying to maintain the integrity of racing and do their part. They have a responsibility for the track as well," Amores said. "All we ask is that if someone is affected by that, they have a due process right to appeal. That has been established by the Supreme Court. We work together for the same purposes."