Prominent horse owner Jerry Jamgotchian followed up on his threat and has sued the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission over the regulatory body’s rules regarding claiming horses.
As has been widely reported, Jamgotchian is challenging a rule that states a claimed horse cannot race at any track other than the one at which it was claimed until the track takes entries for the final race card of the meet in which the claim took place. Jamgotchian wanted to run Rochitta, who was claimed for $40,000 on May 21 at Churchill Downs, at Penn National prior to taking of entries for the final day of the Churchill meet in early July.
Jamgotchian, who two years ago was successful in a lawsuit over a similar rule in California, contends such rules are unconstitutional because they restrict owners’ rights.
Named as defendants in the suit are the commission, KHRC executive director Lisa Underwood, chairman Robert Beck, and vice chairman Tracy Farmer.
In a statement, Jamgotchian said he is seeking “the immediate rescission of the KHRC’s claiming rule," which he believes violates Commerce Clause provisions, as contained in the United States Constitution. This action was required, he said, "because the KHRC refused to voluntarily rescind its illegal claiming rule and is using the board’s enforcement power to shakedown, threaten, and harass Kentucky owners and trainers who want to race their claimed horses in other states.
“It just highlights how dysfunctional, out of touch, and oblivious the KHRC, its executive staff and board members are, and further illustrates why horses, trainers, owners, and breeders are leaving Kentucky and probably will never return,” he said of the claiming rule.