Charles Town's trio of stewards gets schooled

March 20, 2005|by LARRY YANOS

It was "school time" last week for the stewards at Charles Town Races & Slots.

The three stewards at the West Virginia thoroughbred oval - Danny Wright, Bobby Lotts and Izzy Trejo - were among 50 former and current members of the racing industry attending an accreditation school, sponsored by the University of Louisville.

"It was a tremendous experience," Wright said. "The accreditation school is located in Kentucky year round, but they have what they call "transit schools" and move around the country. They have been to Penn National and Delaware Park before.

"The exposure to the accreditation school helps the resume when applying for a job as a racing official," Wright added. "You really learn the ins and outs of horse racing and how to better administer the rules and regulations. It definitely elevates your expertise in the game."


Wright, a former jockey, said he attended the accreditation school in Louisville even before retirement as a race-rider and says it paved the way for a job as a racing official.

"When I retired, I got a job early as a steward at Atlantic City and then I worked in Maryland before coming to Charles Town," Wright said. "I feel participating at the accreditation school was a big plus."

Wright is the head steward at Charles Town, while Lotts is an association steward and Trejo a state steward.

Wright said the class also included former Charles Town-based stewards Joe Servis and Frank Utterback.

The two-day session, headed by Bob Lawrence of the Louisville Stewards Accreditation School, went well.

"The management here did a great job in hosting this and the visitors were impressed," Wright said. "It was a first-class deal."

Dickie Moore, director of racing at Charles Town, said he hopes the current purse structure cuts and elimination of stakes races will be short term.

"It was necessary," Moore said. "Hopefully, things will work themselves out quickly."

For now, the Charles Town horsemen are looking at a 20 percent purse adjustment. The purses are averaging around $150,000 a day instead of the $175,000-185,000 level enjoyed earlier.

Gov. Joe Manchin, looking for ways to correct the workmen's compensation issue in the Mountain State, has requested horsemen from each of the four state racetracks contribute to the deficit.

Charles Town owes approximately $4.15 million to the state.

"We're still not certain of the exact moneys to be owed," Moore said.

In other matters, Moore said the new horsemen's parking garage will open Wednesday and the new racing secretary's office opened last week.

Pony tales

· Dates for the 2005 Triple Crown races: The Kentucky Derby, May 7; the Preakness Stakes, May 21; and the Belmont Stakes, June 11.

· Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day will undergo hip surgery March 30 and could miss the Kentucky Derby for the first time in more than two decades.

The 51-year-old Day faces a rehabilitation period of four to 12 weeks. He will not rule out trying to come back to ride in the Derby. He has ridden in every Kentucky Derby in since 1984.

He has won the Preakness Stakes a record five times and the Belmont Stakes three times.

· Retired jockey Ray Sibille will receive the coveted George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award during ceremonies today at Santa Anita Park.

The 52-year-old Louisiana native retired last July with 4,264 career wins. He had his right hip replaced Aug. 24 due to injuries from a racing spill.

The Woolf Award honors riders whose careers and personal character reflect positively on themselves and the sport of thoroughbred racing and is prized as one of racing's most prestigious accolades.

Since 1985, jockeys nationwide have voted to determine the winner.

Frederick native Phil Grove, now a steward at the Maryland racetracks, is a previous recipient.

· Sweet Catomine cruised to victory in last Sunday's Santa Anita Oaks and trainer Julio Canani indicated she could face the boys the next time out - the April 9 Santa Anita Derby. Only three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby. Winning Colors was the last in 1988.

· History was made late week at Oaklawn Park when track announcer Terry Wallace called the seventh race. It was the 17,000th consecutive race Wallace has called at the Hot Springs, Ark., racetrack.

Wallace's streak is believed to be a record, by a considerable margin, for an announcer calling races at a single track.

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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