07/11/2012 4:26PM

Harness: Walter Case Jr. may be denied Massachusetts driving license

Walter Case Jr. has over 11,000 career driving wins.

The door may be all but shut on the career of the talented, yet troubled harness driving icon Walter Case Jr. On Tuesday, July 10 Gayle Cameron of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission recommended to her fellow commissioners that Case be denied a license to compete at Plainridge Racecourse.

According to Case’s lawyer, Jeffrey R. Pocaro, the decision was based on the grounds of “protecting the integrity of racing” and that Case “lacked sufficient moral character.”

Case, who has amassed 11,038 career wins, now has 30 days to file a written appeal before the five-member board officially votes on whether he will be permitted to race in the state.

“I only spoke to his wife (Luanne) and she was very upset,” said Pocaro, who admitted a decision has yet to be made on whether Case would appeal.

The prospect of racing at Plainridge was considered Case’s best opportunity of returning to the sulky, following a jail sentence and probation period brought on by a domestic violence dispute with his ex-wife back in 2004. According to Pocaro, the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania have verbally told Case that they will deny his license and New York and New Jersey were unwilling to be the first states to test the waters on Case, who has a history of on-track violations and substance abuse.

On top of the current roster of states which have turned their backs on Case, if the MGC officially votes to deny Case a license it would severely hamper his chances of ever driving again.

“A denial would count against him in every state,” said Pocaro. “I doubt Florida would license him. His only chance may be in California. They licensed Richard Wojcio, who had a race-fixing conviction in New Jersey.”

The bottom line is that even if Case appeals it would be unlikely that the MGC would vote against Commissioner Cameron’s recommendation. Plus, since Cameron has one of the five deciding votes, Pocaro would need to convince at least three of her colleagues.

“My best shot was to convince (Commissioner Cameron) and hope that her recommendation would be accepted,” said Pocaro. “With the appeal, I have to convince four other people she was wrong.”



Michael More than 1 year ago
Walter Case never drugged his horses. A.K.A. Eric Ledford and George Napalitano who were allowed to drive after black marks against the sport. George Brennan and Howard Parker were "banished" to out of town tracks after being "involved" in race fixing at Freehold. Walter's no saint, but he never was accused and commited of drugging or fixing any races. He should be allowed a license as he paid his debt to society and then some.
BombsawayBob More than 1 year ago
Typical political Bullchit from my home state. Cameron is in spot where if Case ever did screw up, everyone would turn to Cameron and say, "What were you thinking licensing Walter?" Now that slots money might flow her way, Gayle is afraid of any backsplash.
Mike Bilinskas More than 1 year ago
it's a shame, if he was a thoroughbred jockey the would bend over backwards to let him get a license like they did with Gomez, Antley and the 500 times they banned Valenzuela.. They should grant him a license and tell him 1 screw up and your done.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
none of the 3 jocks you mentioned did time for attempted murder of there wife
Justin Stygles More than 1 year ago
Maine will relicense him in due time. Harness racing is very much a forgive and forget sport. In due time Casey will be tearing up SCAR because everyone else left for NY. Most people who like the sport, but dont follow it closely, know of Casey, but dont realize what happened to him. As long as his past is kept quiet, he'll be racing.
Jason Vafiades More than 1 year ago
This is an absolute mistake. The guy served his time, completed parole, and has, by all accounts, faced his demons and emerged a wiser, calmer, rehabilitated human being. In a sport that is notorious for giving cheaters and felons second chances, this is a slap in the face. The sport is dying in a large part to the aging, apathetic fans. Perhaps a story of redemption from a "prodigal son" could be invoke some fan interest, while at the same time restoring one of the most legendary drivers to the sport he loves. If Walter wishes to apply for his license in Maine, as a licensed owner (who grew up watching him drive) I would gladly try to do what I could to make that happen. Perhaps it is time that the fans and owners took more interest in harness racing at large, and call our respective commission members, racing officials, etc. to bring about the changes the sport needs, starting with the reinstatement of one it's former, most bright stars.
Tim Bullock More than 1 year ago
I still can't fathom how the Plainridge judges could issue a license to Walter in 2008, yet despite the improvement of his situation, deny a 2012 license. If it has anything to do with the impending slots licenses, then there is definitely an agenda. As one pointed out to me, it is the equivalent of "double jeopardy". It's not like Walter was suspended after the 2008 season and had his license revoked. He could not apply for a 2009 license because his parole had to be served within New York. Like I said, it seems like there is an agenda, and as mentioned before, there is no chance that Commissioner Cameron was going to give Walter a fair shake. This was the equivalent of him going before a court judge who was a victim of domestic violence. No mercy. Perhaps Walter can withdraw the appeal, and that the MGC doesn't actually rule on the license, giving him a proverbial black eye in the world of reciproscy. Pocaro might be right. California might be his last avenue. Aside from licensing Wojcio, the CHRB gave Pat Valenzuela infinite "2nd chances". However, I don't think Walter and Luanne have a move to California in the cards.