CDI, Horsemen Settle Lawsuit Over Pricing

CDI alleged horsemen's group and some individuals violated antitrust laws


 A lawsuit between Churchill Downs Inc. and a horsemen’s group and some individuals over alleged antitrust violations has been settled between the parties.

CDI announced April 27 that U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II approved a consent judgment settling a dispute between CDI and the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group, LLC, Robert A. Reeves, Frank Petramalo, Jr., and Wilson Shirley.

The case stems from a complaint filed by CDI in April 2008, alleging federal antitrust violations by the defendants.

CDI alleged RHG and some individuals conspired to fix prices paid by pari-mutuel wagering outlets for access to simulcasts horse races. CDI also alleged the defendants conspired to orchestrate a joint boycott carried out by organizations representing the owners and trainers of Thoroughbred horses in several states.

According to the consent decree, the horsemen "agreed to restrict and modify their behavior regarding their involvement in the signal negotiations among host racing associations, off-track-betting establishments or advance deposit wagering operators, and have agreed to specified minimum damages should they violate the consent judgment."

"We are just glad this is over," Reeves said. He said THG and the other defendants contested the allegations made by CDI and have not agreed that they violated any laws.

"We have not violated any antitrust laws and do not plan to violate any antitrust laws," Reeves said, "so we were able to agree to this."

Reeves said THG and the defendants were restricted in their ability to continue to fight the allegations, but that the important thing is that the case is settled. He said the turning point came during a recent mediation between the two parties that resulted in the agreement approved by Heyburn.

"We are confident that this consent judgment will protect CDI’s interests going forward by prohibiting anti-competitive behavior by the THG Defendants and by establishing minimum damages should future violations occur," Rebecca Reed, CDI senior counsel, said in a statement.