Owner Vows Appeal in Slender Case

A horse owner who contends in a lawsuit that he was forced to run a filly against his wishes at Del Mar in 2005 says he will appeal a judge's ruling that found that California Horse Racing Board steward George Slender could not be held responsible. 

"This case is far from over, I assure you," said owner Jerry Jamgotchian. "We will appeal as soon as the judgment is entered."

The judge hearing pre-trial motions in the Los Angeles County Superior Court civil case, Conrad Aragon, said in his decision that Mark Glatt, the trainer of John's Kinda Girl at the time, was ultimately responsible for running the horse, according to Ronald S. Caswell, the attorney representing Jamgotchian.

The ruling was mailed to attorneys Oct. 15 but had not been officially entered into the case summary as of Dec. 5, Caswell said. 

Glatt, also a defendant in Jamgotchian's suit, has a separate cross-complaint pending against Slender contending that the steward misused his authority by ordering that John's Kinda Girl would run in the seventh race at Del Mar on Aug. 14, 2005. Glatt's suit is set for a case management hearing in March.

Jamgotchian contended in his Dec. 21, 2005, tort lawsuit that Slender repeatedly threatened him and Glatt with license suspensions if they scratched the filly from the race. He alleged that Slender had stationed a watchman at Glatt's barn on the day of the race to prevent the owner from removing John's Kinda Girl from the Del Mar grounds. Jamgotchian seeks damages for infliction of intentional hardship. He says he informed officials that John's Kinda Girl was not physically ready to run that day.

Caswell said he was perplexed by Aragon's decision because it was contrary to earlier rulings the judge had made in the case, including a defense motion for summary judgment heard more than a year ago.

"He's wrong on the facts and wrong on the law," the attorney said. "Did Slender take possession of the horse when he stationed a guard at Glatt's barn to prevent anyone from removing the horse? We believe he did."

Caswell also contends that while Glatt prepared and saddled John's Kinda Girl for the race, he did so because of Slender's threats.

"Putting a gun to somebody's head to make him do something doesn't clear you of your responsibility in the action," Caswell said. 

John's Kinda Girl ran seventh of eight at odds of 28-1 in the Del Mar race. Now 6, she was retired last year with four wins in 28 starts and earnings of $144,555. She is in her first season as a broodmare, according to Jamgotchian.

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