Davis, Shanyfelt get the boot at Charles Town
His six-month suspension for multiple clenbuterol violations is coming to an end this week, but Scooter Davis no longer is welcome to train or race horses at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town races in West Virginia. Neither is Douglas Shanyfelt, who took over the training of some of the horses that were in Davis' stable at the time his suspension began last Aug. 26.
Both Davis and Shanyfelt have been given the boot from the Charles Town premises by Penn National Gaming, whose management has opted to exercise its private property rights of exclusion after conducting an investigation into the activities of the two men.
The suspension of Davis is to end on Thursday, but it's possible West Virginia Racing Commission stewards may take further action.
“The track indicated they have information that Davis was using other trainers as a front, and our stewards are in the process of looking at what evidence the track has,” said Jon Amores, executive director of the commission. “This is not evidence of drug violations but use of a program trainer.”
No hearing has yet been scheduled by stewards.
A program trainer is one who agrees to enter and start in his or her name horses that, in reality, are trained by someone else. The practice can occur when a trainer is unable to be licensed in a state or is under suspension.
Davis, who according to the website ThoroughbredRulings.com has been suspended 330 days for 10 different medication violations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania since 2005, was banned for 180 days Aug. 26 after four of his starters tested positive for clenbuterol at Charles Town and Mountaineer last June. He was also fined $5,000 in that ruling.
Since then, many of the horses previously trained by Davis, have run in the name of Shanyfelt, most recently four runners on Feb. 12-13.
This is not the first time West Virginia officials have suspected someone using a program trainer. Last February, they ordered I Want Revenge to be scratched from a race at Charles Town after the horse was entered in the name of Tony Dutrow. Stewards determined Rick Dutrow, who had been denied a license in Kentucky and was appealing a 10-year suspension in New York, was the actual trainer.
In Rick Dutrow's license application hearing in Kentucky, he admitted to entering horses he was still training in the name of the Robert Frankel, the late Hall of Fame conditioner.
Davis, who has won 681 races from 3,618 starters during a career that began in 1997, has been fined or suspended numerous times for medication violations involving clenbuterol, phenylbutazone, dexamethasone, ketaprofen, and xylazine, and for deceiving officials on the administration of furosemide.
Penn National Gaming and Charles Town officials would not comment on the exclusions other than to confirm that both Davis and Shanyfelt are banned from the company's West Virginia racetrack. Unlike a racing or commission ruling, which has reciprocity in other states, the exclusion of Davis and Shanyfelt does not apply at other racetracks.