Walter Callahan, one of Maryland harness racing's top trainer-drivers until track management excluded him from competing at Freestate Raceway this summer, will not be allowed to race in the upcoming fall meet at Rosecroft Raceway.
William E. Miller II, Rosecroft's president, declined to give a specific reason why Callahan was banned. "It's in our best business interests," Miller said. Under civil law, track owners have a right to exclude from their property any person they deem not to be in their best business interests, as long as the exclusion is not founded on race, creed, color, sex or national origin. A specific reason need not be given. None was given by Freestate management and a Howard County circuit court judge subsequently upheld the track's right of exclusion.
Neither Callahan, who has won more than 1,100 races and $2.5 million in purses in the last decade, nor Howard Goldman, his attorney, could be reached for comment yesterday.
Rosecroft's 60-night meeting will open Sept. 21.
In an unrelated development, Miller said exclusions will continue for five of the six persons banned by Rosecroft on May 13. The banning occurred one day after a triple returned $162.60 even though the 4-to-5 favorite finished out of the money and a 53-to-1 shot was second. The track has declined to give a specific reason for the exclusion.
Miller said that Sandy C. Lee will be permitted to race her horse at the track and to attend the races. She had been among the six excluded.
Also excluded were Anthony Sapienza, who drove the favorite in the race, and Gusztav Toplenszky, who drove the horse that finished second; Joe Sapienza, father of Anthony Sapienza; trainer George Toplenszky, brother of Gusztav Toplenszky, and Joe Nero, who holds a groom's license.
Anthony Sapienza subsequently was suspended 30 days by the state racing judges for "an unsatisfactory drive due to lack of effort" in the May 12 race. No other action was taken by the judges. The five excluded persons previously had denied any improprieties in connection with the race.
Ray Traynor, director of security for the U.S. Trotting Association, said that the investigation into the race is still open and that he hopes to have it concluded by the first week of October. Traynor said he has interviewed 20-25 people in connection with the race and the betting on it. "There are still some leads to be covered," he said.