04/09/2009 11:00PM

Charles Town bans clerk, riders


Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia has suspended its clerk of scales indefinitely and suspended seven jockeys for 30 days in a ruling contending that the clerk and jockeys failed to report riding weights accurately, according to reports confirmed by the head of the Jockeys' Guild.

The suspensions were handed down on Wednesday, approximately two weeks after the Charles Town stewards said they learned of the misreported weights through footage from surveillance cameras, according to the Jockeys' Guild's president Terry Meyocks.

According to reports, the ruling stated that the racetrack's clerk of scales, Michael Garrison, failed "to use due diligence in the performance of his duty," and that the jockeys were found guilty of "dishonest acts in relation to conspiring along with the clerk of scales" to report weights under the weight actually carried in a race.

The stewards of Charles Town could not be reached on Friday afternoon. Charles Town races at night.

The seven suspended jockeys, who were also fined $1,000 each, are Alexis Rios Conde, Tony Maragh, Anthony Mawing, Luis Perez, Larry Reynolds, Jesus Sanchez, and Dale Whittaker.

Terry Meyocks, the president of the Jockeys' Guild, said Friday that he did not want to comment on the merit of the stewards ruling, but he also said that the racing industry needs to adopt standardized procedures for weighing in and weighing out to avoid problems like the one at Charles Town.

"We don't condone anything that hurts the game," Meyocks said. "But some jurisdictions treat it one way, other jurisdictions treat it another. The problem is based in a lack of standardization."

Meyocks pointed out that the video evidence against the clerk of scales and jockeys was collected on March 26, when the temperature was near freezing and racing was conducted at night. He said that jockeys frequently ride overweight in low-temperature conditions because of additional clothing and difficulty losing excess water weight.