Mare Haven Loses Appeal Over Breeders' Cup Stallion Nominations

Breeders' Cup Ltd. has denied an appeal from Mare Haven Farm concerning the 2000 breeding season eligibility of the farm's stallions that were advertised as "Breeders' Cup nominated" but whose nomination fees were not paid. The decision means none of the foals of 2001 sired by Mare Haven stallions are eligible for nomination to the Breeders' Cup program.

"None of the Mare Haven stallions were nominated for 2000," said Pam Blatz-Murff, senior vice president of Breeders' Cup operations. Blatz-Murff said letters and invoices are automatically sent to previously nominated stallions each November reminding them of the upcoming Dec. 15 deadline, and that Mare Haven received the early notice. "We sent a second notice to Mare Haven and had telephone conversations with them," she added. "We then noticed the stallions were advertised as nominated to the Breeders' Cup, and we called again. There is additional time with penalties until March to get stallions in, and we called through the spring. We probably made five or six telephone calls and sent three or four written notices to remind them to complete the nomination forms. We even indicated we knew they were advertising their stallions as nominated to the Breeders' Cup. After all this correspondence, nothing was given back to us -- no communications or money for nominations."

Mare Haven Farm stallions advertised as Breeders' Cup nominated in The Blood-Horse Stallion Register for 2000 were Carolina Kid, Composer, El Angelo, Gold Spats, Pistols and Roses, Repriced, Sabona, Secreniner, Tough Call, and Well Decorated. The annual Stallion Register is printed each November, approximately six weeks prior to the stallion nomination deadline for the Breeders' Cup.

"It wasn't until the early foal closing in August of 2001 that the first breeder was told he couldn't nominate a foal because the stallion wasn't nominated," Blatz Murff said. "The stallions have been re-nominated for the 2001 breeding season for 2002 foals. But they are not nominated for the 2000 breeding season."

Blatz-Murff said an attorney for the farm's owner, Dr. William O. Reed, appealed to the Breeders' Cup, saying the failure to nominate was a clerical error. "The (Breeders' Cup) board said 'no' to the request, and the appeal was denied," Blatz-Murff said.

Reed could not be reached for comment. A farm employee said he was out of town and not available.

"We feel for the breeders," Blatz-Murff said. "It's not their fault. They were under the impression the stallions were nominated."

According to Blatz-Murff, there have been previous cases where stallions were nominated and their first- and second-quarter payments made. However, when stallion owners failed to make third- and fourth-quarter payments, the stallions were made ineligible. She advised breeders to include language in a mare contract "that the stallion will be kept in good standing with the Breeders' Cup or is Breeders' Cup nominated and will be paid in full."