09/04/2014 2:45PM

Seven Charles Town jockeys gain favorable court ruling

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A West Virginia circuit court has ruled in favor of seven jockeys at Charles Town who were suspended in 2010 under charges that they improperly weighed out before races at the track a year earlier.

Judge Paul Zakaib of the Circuit Court of Kanawa County stated that there was insufficient evidence to support the initial charges, which were lodged after Charles Town management installed surveillance cameras in the weigh-out area. The ruling noted that track officials were not trained to use a digital scale that had recently been installed to record weights, and that the video recordings failed to show that the jockeys’ weights were recorded inaccurately in a consistent way.

The seven riders are Luis Perez, Anthony Mawing, Dale Whitaker, Lawrence Reynolds, Jesus Sanchez, Alexis Rios-Conde, and Tony Maragh.

Though the jockeys were suspended for 30 days by the state racing commission and excluded by Charles Town following the track’s investigation, the riders did not serve the dates because of stays awarded during the appeals process. The jockeys were also fined $1,000, and the ruling directed the commission to return the money to the individual riders.

The appeal by the seven riders was supported by the Jockeys’ Guild, which has since worked with the West Virginia Racing Commission to clarify the state’s rules on weigh-out and weigh-in procedures.

“We hope that this decision will set the record straight and it will be recognized that none of the jockeys violated the rules of racing, nor did they do anything that would be considered illegal or defrauding the betting public,” said Terry Meyocks, the national manager of the Guild, in a statement.