Horse Owner Sues Gulfstream Over Claim

A racehorse owner filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Gulfstream Park Racing Association for allegedly violating horse safety laws by letting an uncertifed animal be claimed from a race.

The Associated Press reported that Sylvia Heft filed the suit in Florida Circuit Court. It claims the track failed to comply with Florida law that requires all horses who are stabled and race at any track in Florida to have a valid Coggins certificate on file. The certificate ensures that the horse is free of Equine Infectious Anemia.

The suit stems from the March 4 purchase of the horse Brass Badge from a $50,000 claiming race. Heft placed the money in escrow with Gulfstream for the horse. When her trainer, John Robb, went to the racing office to pick up the Coggins certificate, he was told it had expired. Robb said Heft balked at completing the purchase, and that three stewards at Gulfstream agreed and voided the claim.

Heft claims the association then held a hearing without her or Robb present and reversed the steward's ruling. It also turned the $50,000 over to Carolina Stable, which owned Brass Badge. Heft wants the track to repay her the $50,000. Gulfstream officials couldn't be reached for comment.

A court hearing wasn't immediately scheduled.