IEAH purchased 50% interest in the son of Stephen Got Even on March 25 for $3,175,00, and on April 4 the colt won the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I). Under the agreement, IEAH agreed to pay $1,750,000 in cash and convey to Lanzman 25% interest in the top IEAH-owned filly Stardom Bound. IEAH’s subsequent sale of part of its interest in the colt to others, and the manner in which the funds were handled, were the subject of the Lanzman suit against IEAH. Lanzman's suit and IEAH's counterclaim were both filed in filed in Fayette (Kentucky) Circuit Court.
I Want Revenge was scratched from the Derby on the morning of the race due to an injury in his right front fetlock. According to the IEAH claims, by attorney Andre Regard as a counterclaim to the lawsuit filed by Lanzman, I Want Revenge was diagnosed as being lame and had filling in his right front fetlock April 10. The court filing contends Lanzman failed in his fiduciary duty to IEAH by not notifying the partner of the injury and that the colt was X-rayed and treated for the filling.
Additional treatments for the filling took place from April 11-13 and on April 14 an ultrasound was conducted on the injury, the filing states. The colt was injected in the right front fetlock April 15 and was administered antibiotics for the next five days, according to the counterclaim, with IEAH not being informed of any of those actions. IEAH claims further that the colt was injected in both front fetlocks April 28.
"Again, in flagrant disregard for his duty to keep his partner updated on the condition and potential scratch status, Lanzman failed to inform IEAH of any issues regarding the colt," IEAH claims. "On May 1st, the day before the Kentucky Derby, IEAH heard a rumor that the colt was to be scratched. When IEAH confronted David Lanzman, he denied that the colt would be scratched."
During a hastily called press conference at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, Lanzman, trainer Jeff Mullins, and veterinarians Dr. Foster Northrop and Dr. Larry Bramlage announced the scratch of I Want Revenge due to the injury.
Lanzman’s attorney, Mike Meuser, said his client did not know any more than IEAH knew about the treatments received by I Want Revenge until Derby Day. Also, the colt had never experienced any lameness until the morning of the classic.
"My client had the same amount of information about the horse’s treatments as they did and he was never lame until the morning of the race," Meuser said. "The only clinical symptom this horse displayed up until them race was slight filing in his ankles."
"At the time of the scratch of the colt, it was announced that it was due to lameness in the left front ankle," according to IEAH’s filing. "It was subsequently reported that the injury was to the right ankle. The colt was the first favorite to ever be scratched the morning of the Derby."
IEAH’s counterclaim says "at this point in time it is believed that the colt’s racing career is over at worst, and at best, he will never perform at the graded stakes level again. At no time was IEAH informed of any injuries suffered by the colt until they became aware that he was being scratched the morning of the Kentucky Derby. The colt was scratched from the Derby due to a torn ligament in the right front ankle, the exact location of the injury that was being treated beginning April 10, 2009."
IEAH contends Lanzman’s actions damaged IEAH financially because the actions decreased the colt’s ability to continue to race, resulting in "significant financial injury to IEAH, including the loss of race earnings and the loss of income as a future stallion." IEAH claims it is further harmed financially because it may have to refund some of the money to those who bought part ownership of IEAH’s interest and also because of the thousands of dollars spent attending the Derby.
Since the agreement called for an additional $1 million paid to Lanzman from IEAH if I Want Revenge won the Derby, "rather than stop training on the colt and treating him for the injury, Lanzman sacrificed the colt’s health for his own potential financial gain," IEAH claims.
The lawsuit filed by Lanzman contends IEAH sold more than a 10% interest in the colt without complying with the terms of the contract, including not notifying Lanzman in writing prior to the sale nor providing him with executed copies of the documents. Also, the purchase price of such sale was not paid into Lanzman’s attorney’s escrow account, according to the suit. Lanzman’s suit is seeking payment of the purchase price of sales by IEAH into Lanzman’s attorney’s escrow account.
In response to those claims, IEAH countered that it was not required to notify Lanzman of its intent to sell part of its interest in I Want Revenge to others and that it did not violate terms of the agreement in regard the escrow account.