Clerk Of Scales At Presque Isle Downs Suspended For Failure To Weigh-Out Jockeys

Jockeys at Presque Isle Downs

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A longtime racetrack employee and the current Clerk of Scales at Churchill Downs Inc.-owned Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pennsylvania was suspended by the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission's Bureau of Thoroughbred Horse Racing for 30 days beginning Jan. 8. Danny Hamilton was found by the stewards to have neglected to weigh-out jockeys before the eighth race Oct. 11.

Director of Enforcement Jason Klouser, who led the investigation, said, “The Racing Commission's investigators observed Danny Hamilton failing to weigh-out the jockeys for race 8, which is a violation of numerous sections of Pennsylvania's rules of racing.”

Klouser added, “At this point, the investigation into Hamilton's activities is ongoing to determine if there were any other violations.”

According to the stewards ruling which is posted on the commission's website, part of the duties of the Clerk of Scales and/or their assistant is to preside over the racing process from when the jockeys assemble before the race to weigh-out, all the way through its conclusion when they come off the course to weigh-in.

Hamilton appeared this past summer on an episode of Horse Racing Today co-hosted by Jamie Martinez in which he discussed his experiences and delved into his duties as a clerk.

On that program, Hamilton said, “We run a very tight ship here at Presque Isle.” When asked what happens if a rider's weight is off when he or she comes off the course, the clerk said with a laugh, “Well then we have real problems! Then the Racing Commission gets involved and stuff gets really real.”

He went on to say, “But we don't have that problem, all the riders come back heavier than what they went out. So, if you go out at 124 [pounds], chances are you're going to come in at 126 [pounds], 127 [pounds], because the saddle towel, the pad, the horse's are sweaty, it soaks up into the pad and saddle towel … it weighs a lot. If they come back lighter than they went out, major problem, if they come back heavier, then you're good to go.”

Growing up around racetracks, including Beulah Park and Delaware Park, Hamilton as recently as 2019 served as an inspector for the Ohio State Racing Commission. Since then, he's had several other stops at locations such as Oaklawn Park, where he was an integrity officer.

Hamilton was hired as the Clerk of Scales by Presque Isle Downs earlier this year after he was the horse identifier at the course during the 2022 season. An attempt was made to contact the track's Director of Racing, Matthew Ennis, but several messages were not returned.

Currently, Hamilton is serving as a placing judge at Fair Grounds, which is also owned by Churchill Downs Inc.

Klouser confirmed that, “We have notified the Louisiana Racing Commission of the pending suspension.”

As for the ruling, Hamilton is denied access to all grounds under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission and does have the right to appeal. He was unable to be reached for comment.

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