WV-Breds to Share in Additional $1 Million

Money will go toward purses at state's two Thoroughbred racetracks.

Owners of West Virginia-bred racehorses will share in an additional $1 million, the result of an accumulated balance in the West Virginia Accredited Race Fund.

West Virginia Racing Commission executive director Joe Moore Jan. 19 said $1,006,000 is available in the account, and horsemen's groups at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort requested the money be equally divided between the two tracks.

The options were to put the money in the general purse fund or special state-bred fund. Under the plan, the two tracks will card and run accredited races and then request reimbursement from the WVRC. The funded races must be run between now and the end of June 2016.

The WVRC also announced a settlement agreement in a lawsuit over about $2 million that had been set aside for construction of a Greyhound training facility in the state, which has two dog tracks with casino gaming. The case dates back to a previous racing commission.

The training facility was never built. Breeder Roger White sued the commission over the funds, and the case was finally settled in December 2015.

WVRC senior deputy attorney general Kelli Talbott said the written agreement called for $1.3 million to go to the Greyhound Breed Development Fund and $700,000 to the WVRC operating fund. White's attorney fees will be covered with $100,000 of the $1.3 million and $50,000 of the $700,000.

The remaining $1.2 million was distributed to qualified Greyhound breeders by Dec. 22, Moore said.

In other business, the racing commission denied a request for an occupational permit by trainer Scooter Davis, who was suspended several years ago for multiple medication violations in West Virginia.

"This has been going on for a while," Talbott said of the Davis case. "His permit was initially suspended under a joint ruling by stewards at Charles Town and Mountaineer for medication violations, and then during the suspension he was caught in a program-trainer scheme (at Charles Town)."

After the suspension was up, Davis requested reinstatement but stewards denied the request and he appealed. The WVRC then upheld a hearing officer's decision to uphold the stewards' ruling.

Talbott said the racing commission must now notify Davis and explain its reasons for denying his request. In turn, Davis can request another full hearing on his permit denial.