Foal Papers Denied for AI-bred Palominos, Case Heading to Court

A dispute between The Jockey Club and the breeder of Palomino Thoroughbreds who had registration papers revoked is heading to court.

The Jockey Club announced today that it would not reinstate the registration papers of four horses bred by Lauren Efford of Honey Brook, Pa., because the horses were bred by artificial insemination.

Stewards of The Jockey Club on Oct. 26 accepted the findings and recommendations of an independent hearing officer, retired Kentucky state circuit court Judge L.T. Grant. He conducted a hearing Aug. 9 in Lexington, Ky., during which only the rules of The Jockey Club and how they applied to this case were discussed. Grant reported to the stewards that the rules of The American Stud Book were clearly violated and the decision to cancel the foal certificates should be upheld.

All rulings by the stewards, after written objections are submitted or a hearing is conducted, are final.

"I thought the judge let us have some leeway, but he refused to allow us to get into the issues of anti-trust or restriction of free trade or selective prosecution," said Robert Hoffa, Efford's attorney, about the hearing in Lexington. "I think we'll end up filing a suit in New York before the end of the year."

Efford has been arguing since February that the papers should be reinstated because, as a novice breeder, she did not know artificial insemination violated Jockey Club rules. The foals, which were bred between 1997 and 1999, were initially registered because the stallion owner reported them as conceived by natural cover. After an apparent falling out with Efford, the stallion owner notified The Jockey Club that she had made a mistake on the stallion service certificates and reported that the horses were bred artificially. The Jockey Club rescinded Efford's foal registrations in February, but have not taken any disciplinary action against Milynda Milam, of Red Fox Farm in Texas, who filed the original false reports.

Efford is facing her own lawsuit from a woman who bought one of her Palomino homebreds believing it was also a registered Thoroughbred.