The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has taken regulatory action in connection with an altercation on the backside of Churchill Downs involving newsletter publisher Eddie Musselman, trainer Dale Romans, and Romans' life partner, Tammy Fox.
According to the July 2 rulings, Mussleman, who publishes the irreverent "Indian Charlie" backside newsletter, has had his vendor's license at Kentucky tracks suspended 30 days and ordered to undergo anger management. Fox, an assistant to Romans and exercise rider, is suspended 15 days and ordered to undergo anger management as well. No action was taken against Romans.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that chief steward Barbara Borden said Musselman was cited for being the aggressor in the June 26 incident, which occurred near the Romans barn in the Churchill stable area. Fox, the newspaper said, was disciplined for being a participant in the altercation.
Based on published reports, a fight broke out between the parties as a result of a commentary about Romans published in Musselman's newsletter June 14. Churchill Downs and other tracks had already precluded Musselman from distributing his newsletter on-track as a result of previously published comments that were deemed offensive to Hispanics.
The Courier-Journal reported that Musselman told Churchill security he threw the first punch at Romans because he believed the trainer and Fox were going to "jump him." A fight between Romans and Musselman ensued and at one point Fox hit Musselman with a water bucket in an effort to stop the altercation.
Bob Heleringer, an attorney representing Musselman, said no decision had been made on whether to appeal the KHRC's action.
"We believe Dale was the aggressor and Eddie was only defending himself, and there's a witness to that effect in the security report," Heleringer said. "That's what we argued on Sunday. I said we acknowledge there was an altercation, we acknowledged we participated in it.
"We denied that we were the aggressor, but that it happened and unfortunately it happened. Both sides were injured. My client looks like he went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. Somebody beat him up pretty good. He needs medical attention and he gets it."
Romans told the newspaper that Fox will appeal. "I don't think she should have any punishment, either, just like I didn't. Our reports strictly say she was trying to break up the fight."