A district court judge has scheduled a hearing for later this month to decide whether a dispute between the two parties that own the stallion Ready's Image will be resolved through the courts or by arbitration.
The July 20 hearing before Anne E. Thompson, a U.S. District Judge in Trenton, N.J., stems from a suit filed by prominent owner James T. Scatuorchio and related partners against Walmac Stud and related parties, including chief operating officer John T.L. Jones III and Saybrook Advertising.
The hearing will seek to resolve the question of whether any disputes arising from the co-ownership of Ready’s Image are to be resolved through binding arbitration, as Walmac and Jones contend, or through legal action, as being sought by Scatuorchio. According to the motion filed by Walmac’s attorneys, the defendants are seeking to have the dispute resolved through the arbitration or mediation process or to have the suit transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
A 6-year-old son of More Than Ready , Ready’s Image stands at Walmac, where his 2011 fee was $6,500, and shuttles to Australia to stand at stud during the Southern Hemisphere breeding season.
Scatuorchio raced Ready's Image and grade I winner and successful sire More Than Ready , as well as many other graded winners, including champion English Channel . According to the suit, Walmac owns two-thirds interest in Ready’s Image and Scatuorchio owns the remaining one-third.
In the litigation, filed in a Monmouth County, New Jersey, Superior Court, Scatuorchio makes various claims concerning the income, accounting, and advertising and other expenses related to Walmac’s management of Ready’s Image. Included are allegations of fraud and breach of trust and failure to permit the plaintiffs to audit the books for the stallion. The plaintiffs also allege that the conduct by Walmac and Jones violate the New Jersey Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act and that Jones and Walmac failed to disclose previous litigation and bankruptcy proceeding in which they were involved.
The amount of damages being sought by the plaintiffs was not specified in the legal action.
In a July 5 statement, Walmac labeled the allegations by Scatuorchio as meritless and said it was an attempt by Scatuorchio to get out of making payments to Walmac and Lincoln Farm, the Australian farm where Ready’s Image stands Down Under.
“We feel the lawsuit is a preemptive ploy by Scatuorchio and related parties to obfuscate and to deny their contractual obligations to Walmac and to avoid current and future lease payments owed Walmac and expenses related to our co-ownership,” the statement said. “They owe monies not only to Walmac but to our partner in Australia, Lincoln Farm (where Ready’s Image stands in the Southern Hemisphere). Walmac and its related parties owe nothing to the plaintiffs and all of the allegations are totally baseless and without merit in the slightest degree.
“We also feel that the suit is frivolous abuse of the court system because the parties have previously agreed in writing in three separate documents related to the management and sale of Ready’s Image to settle any and all disputes by arbitration. We expect the case to be thrown out of court and the arbitrators remedy will demand that Scatuorchio parties pay their debts to Walmac. Further, we expect to seek all available remedies for the slander directed toward Walmac, its related entities, and its managing partner in statements made by the so called ‘plaintiffs’ and their affiliated parties.”