Also, the stewards decided to suspend Donnan from his owner's license for one year. However, the Texas Racing Commission in December reduced the suspension to 60 days. According to the Texas Administrative Code, the Texas Thoroughbred Association can register any horse born or foaled in Texas as an accredited Texas-bred if the accredited mare is bred back to an accredited Texas stallion within the next two breeding seasons. Before Donnan entered Chauffe Au Rouge at Retama and Sam Houston, he gave the TTA a notarized document showing High Rent was an accredited Texas mare. The same document said the previous owners of High Rent--the Stanley brothers from Arkansas--had planned to breed the mare to Hadif, an accredited Texas stallion, in 1997. Even though High Rent died in 1996, and Red Attack was not an accredited Texas stallion, the TTA accepted the document for accreditation purposes.
But last February, the stewards found the document from Donnan was a "false, fraudulent or incorrect affidavit" for accreditation purposes, because it did not bear a person's signature, but appeared to be signed "Stanley Brothers C/S." Plus, the stewards took testimony from the mother of the Stanley brothers indicating "they did not breed Thoroughbred horses." Donnan claims he never intended to mislead the tracks, the stewards, or the TTA, and he plans to ask the Travis County District Court in Austin, Texas, to review the matter on appeal. "At the time, Mr. Donnan was fairly new to the horse racing business, and there's certainly no sufficient evidence to find he did anything fraudulently or intentionally," said attorney Grover Russell, who is representing Donnan along with Tom Alexander.
No date can be set for the district hearing, Russell said, until the commission releases its written decision to suspend Donnan.