Kentucky Claiming Rule to Be Challenged

Owner Jamgotchian not allowed to enter horse at Penn National.

Kentucky regulators do not plan to rescind or waive a rule regarding when claimed horses can run in out-of-state races, despite the threat of a lawsuit from prominent owner Jerry Jamgotchian.

Jamgotchian, a Californian who races horses in Kentucky and other states, is challenging the rule after he was not permitted to enter the horse Rochitta in a race at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. A 3-year-old daughter of Arch, Rochitta was claimed by trainer Eric Reed on behalf of Jamgotchian for $40,000 when the filly finished second in a May 21 race at Churchill Downs.

The owner said officials at Penn National disallowed Rochitta’s entry in a June 4 race, citing a Kentucky 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. The Churchill Downs meet ends in early July.

Saying the rule violates his constitutional rights, Jamgotchian fired off an email to KHRC executive director Lisa Underwood in which he said, “Unless my horse (Rochitta) is immediately allowed to enter and race at Penn National, I will file an action in the U.S. District Court against the KHRC, Churchill Downs and others to protect my constitutional right and invalidate this clearly illegal rule,”

In an email, Underwood said there are no plans for Kentucky officials to waive the rule in Jamgotchian’s case.

Two years ago, Jamgotchian successfully challenged a California rule that  stated a claimed horse could not be entered in a race outside California until 60 days from the end of the meet in which the horse was claimed, with stakes races exempted.

Jamgotchian filed suit and the California Horse Racing Board later supended, and later amended, its rules regarding entry of claimed horses.

“The sole aim of my lawsuit is to allow the owner to control his/her horse,” Jamgotchian said at the time. “Neither the California racetracks nor the CHRB seem to understand that they do not own or control our racehorses.”