Woodbine Dismisses Executive After License Suspended

Woodbine Entertainment dismissed Christopher Evans from his position as vice president of Thoroughbred racing operations after the executive had his license suspended for three years by the Ontario Racing Commission.

David Wilmott, Woodbine chairman and CEO, said Woodbine had no choice but to dismiss Evans, 52, as a result of the regulatory body's actions. He said Woodbine waited until Oct. 28 to see if Evans would appeal the Sept. 18 ORC order and acted after it became apparent he would not. "Therefore, it's basically over and that three-year suspension is in place, then we have no choice but to terminate Chris."

Woodbine executive vice president Jim Ormiston assumed day-to-day responsibility for Thoroughbred racing following Evans' dismissal.

Evans' suspension, which took effect May 6, and an additional one-year probationary period stem from the circumstances surrounding an extramarital relationship the executive had with Linda Phelan, an ORC steward whose husband, Bruce, is a trainer. Phelan is on a leave of absence from the racing commission.

In addition to the three year suspension and probation, the commission ordered Evans to "file with the director proof that he has successfully completed a counseling program to address his issue of violence and abusive behavior towards others, together with additional anger management counseling; and provide a letter from a qualified professional who has reviewed the relevant material including these reasons and a transcript of the evidence in this case asserting that in that professional's opinion Mr. Evans poses a low risk of reoffending."

The ORC also stated that Evans is to have no personal contact or communications either directly or indirectly with any Ontario Racing Commission stewards without their express written consent and is to have no direct or indirect contact or communication with Linda Phelan as long as she is employed by the commission. "During the period of suspension and probation, Mr. Evans must abide by any restraints imposed by the terms of the bail orders or any other court orders," the ruling stated. "In the event of breach of any of these conditions, Mr. Evans' license will be immediately revoked and notice of such revocation and his right to request a hearing on such revocation shall be provided to him."