An antitrust lawsuit filed last year by owner Michael Gill against Delaware Park has been settled, which paves the way for the nation's leading owner in 2003 to return to action at the track when its live meet opens Saturday.
Gill's suit came in response to a decision by Delaware officials last year to ban him from the grounds and refuse entry of his horses. The settlement will allow Gill to resume competing at the track but he will not be issued stalls.
According to Gill, the deal allows for him to run at Delaware for as long as he remains in good standing.
"We've been talking about settling for the past few months and this is basically what we came up with," Gill said. "I don't have any stalls, but that's not too bad because I have about 140 stalls (at his Pennsylvania farm) 15 minutes outside the gate so I'll live with it."
In the suit against Delaware, Gill alleged a conspiracy between track officials and some trainers to keep him from competing at the track. Along with Delaware Park, other defendants named were track chairman William Rickman, racing secretary Sam Abbey, and trainers Allen Iwinski and Scott Lake.
Gill will have a stable of about 400 horses competing between Delaware, Monmouth Park, and Pimlico. He said his plan is to break the meet records he currently holds at Delaware and Monmouth Park. Gill will also continue to have a strong presence in Maryland.
As for Gill's California stable, it will be cut in half to about 40 horses. He said the lack of diversity in the races carded doesn't allow for a large stable to be viable.
"There are only eight races a day and sometimes four of them are maidens, so once you break your maiden where do you go?" Gill said. "I thought I could do what I did at Gulfstream at Santa Anita but it doesn't work like that out there. I'll probably still have the same number of starts I do now but only with half the horses."
Gill, an Eclipse Award finalist last year for leading owner, still has a lawsuit pending against Gulfstream filed after his dominating meet in 2003. The suit claims Gulfstream mishandled an investigation into the death of one of his horses.