Owner Mike Gill filed two separate lawsuits in U.S. District Court of New Hampshire April 9 for being denied entry into races at Delaware Park and for Gulfstream Park's handling of an investigation earlier this year.
In the lawsuit against Delaware Park, Gill claims fellow defendants -- track president William Rickman, racing secretary Sam Abbey, and trainers Scott Lake and Allen Iwinski -- have colluded to drive Gill out of racing in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Gill was notified March 27 by a letter from Delaware chief operating officer Bill Fasy he would not be allowed to enter horses at the track's upcoming meeting. The suit states the action was a result of "anti-competitive conduct" by the defendants.
Lake and Iwinski are accused in the suit of threatening Delaware officials that they would not race their horses at Delaware if Gill entered runners from his 270-horse stable. Last year, Gill was the runaway leading owner at Delaware with 85 wins and earnings of $2,965,484 from 592 starters.
Abbey is accused of saying last year Gill "might as well pull up a van and empty out his stalls" if he claimed a particular horse, who was unidentified. Abbey is also being sued for defamation of character for calling Gill "a liar" in a Washington Post article that quoted Gill as saying "Sam Abbey told me, 'if you claim [Pino's horse] you're out of here."
A former trainer of Rickman's -- Gami Vazquez, who is currently employed by Gill -- also overheard Rickman and Abbey threatening Gill, the suit alleges.
Gill is seeking compensatory damages and treble damages under the Sherman Act and the New Hampshire Antitrust Act.
In the other suit, Gill is suing Gulfstream Park and president Scott Savin for providing misleading information to Sports Illustrated on an article headlined "Nagging Questions" that was published March 10.
The article focused on Gill's success at Gulfstream as well as an investigation into the fatal breakdown of Gill's Casual Conflict. In the story, Savin was quoted as saying the inquiry into whether banned substances were in the horse's system was still ongoing.
However, in a letter from the Associate Director of the University of Florida Racing Laboratory to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering dated Feb. 21, a copy of which was obtained by the Blood-Horse
, states no banned substances were found.
The lawsuit says it is reasonable to believe Savin was also notified of the results at that time since the Gulfstream veterinarian made the initial request for the test.