Track president resigns

April 16, 1998|By CLYDE FORD

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jay Fortney, who helped oversee renovations of Charles Town Races as president and general manager, announced Thursday he was resigning for health reasons.

He has not been working while recuperating from heart bypass surgery in December.

Fortney said in a prepared statement that his recuperation "has not been satisfactory. My physicians have concluded that I am physically unfit at the present time to return to the stress of my current position, even on a part-time basis. I felt I was being unfair to Penn National Gaming to continue on a medical leave of absence."

"Jay's resignation caught us by surprise," said William Bork Sr., president and chief operating officer of Penn National Gaming, the owners of Charles Town Races. "We wish Jay a speedy recovery," he said.

Fortney, 58, joined Penn National Gaming in November 1996, shortly before the company purchased Charles Town Races.

He oversaw the more than $40 million overhaul of the 60-year-old track, including the addition of a video lottery gaming room, simulcast racing center and the recent resurfacing of the track.


Fortney, known as an expert on track surfaces, returned to oversee the track's resurfacing project over the past 10 days.

Dick Watson, president of the Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, called Fortney a "fine man" to work with.

"He was very knowledgeable about tracks," Watson said.

Fortney worked at tracks in Texas and Jamaica before moving to Charles Town.

Bork will serve as acting president and general manager of Charles Town Races until the position can be restructured.

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