Fenwick plans to dismount at Pimlico and be off to school again

April 09, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Charlie Fenwick III, who dropped out of Gilman School as a junior and became one of Maryland's leading jockeys, has decided to retire -- at age 19.

Fenwick said yesterday that starting in May, he plans to cease riding at Pimlico Race Course and become a student again.

"I'll take a little time off, go to summer school and then start Gilman next fall as a senior," he said. "After that I plan to go on to college and study marketing. I'll ride steeplechase races, but racing will become strictly a hobby."

Fenwick said: "I'm not getting any smaller. My weight is marginal now [109 pounds]. Recently I've been going through a dry spell, and it's given me time to pause and reflect. When I'm 24 [and having trouble making weight] will it be too late for me then to go back to school? I thought I better do it now. It has been a tough decision. But believe me, the last three years has been a great experience. If I was 16 and 95 pounds, I'd do it all over again."

Fenwick rode his first flat winner on August 25, 1990, on Penrage Rock at Delaware Park. Later during the fall, he started to ride regularly at the Maryland tracks. In 1991, he was the state's second-leading apprentice to Tim Peterson after winning the Butch Eseman Award as the top apprentice at Pimlico. He finished ninth in the jockey standings.

Last year, Fenwick was the state's seventh-leading rider and won five stakes races, including the Lady Baltimore Handicap on Ratings, the Queen Isabella Handicap with Stem The Tide and the Humphrey Finney Stakes on Smart Jaune.

During his career, Fenwick won approximately 300 races and his mounts earned more than $3.5 million.

Union wants recount

Pimlico track operator Joe De Francis said yesterday that he has received a letter from Thomas Russow, president of Local 27 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, stating that the UFCW will not certify the March 30 vote by track employees to accept revisions to its contract.

The original ballot, issued by the UFCW, had listed the wrong date, stating that ballots were due Thursday,March 30. But March 30 fell on a Tuesday. According to sources, the union's international council said that because the date was misleading, a recount is needed.

Russow was not available for comment.

The UFCW recount will take place at polling booths at Pimlico and Laurel on April 17.

If the employees accept the contract modifications, fans will be able to bet on televised races from out-of-state tracks at any pari-mutuel window once a full-card simulcast program begins.

If the revisions are rejected, separate windows will be staffed for each out-of-state simulcast card as well as Pimlico's live races.

Among the issues are salary offers that the track has made to employees for taking bets on extra races.

De Francis works for free

Business has fallen off so much during the first quarter of the year (approximately 10 percent), that De Francis said as of April 1, he is no longer drawing a bi-weekly salary.

His $700,000-plus annual salary has been the subject of recent discussion and was an issue mentioned in a lawsuit filed against him by his estranged partners, Tom and Bob Manfuso.

De Francis said yesterday that he will pay himself a bonus at the end of the year if business improves.

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