Seattle Slew Lawsuit Settled

A lawsuit attempting to force the repayment of a Seattle Slew season has been settled out of court.

In the suit filed April 17, 2000, in Fayette County, Ky., Skara Glen Stable asked for Script R Farm Partnership to return $162,750 paid for the season. Seattle Slew's problem with a compressed vertebrae last year prevented Skara Glen Stable from using the season.

Skara Glen is the breeding and racing name of Stanley, Marcia, and Ira Gumberg. Script R Farm is the operating name of Ron Roncari. The contract entered into by the two parties said no refund would be made to the buyer unless "Seattle Slew is not alive and/or breeding sound, including the ability to mount and serve mares to and including February 15, 2000 at 12 a.m."

In a motion for summary judgment filed Feb. 12, Skara Glen's attorney, Michael Meuser, argued that the contract said breeding soundness "must exist throughout the period ending at 12:00 a.m. on Feb. 15." Seattle Slew's neurological problems, which were discovered later as the result of the compressed vertebrae, began on Jan. 12, 2000.

In a deposition included in the motion, Dr. James Morehead said on various dates, including Feb. 2, he 'would not have recommended" the stallion breed, due to the symptoms he exhibited, which included unsteadiness.

In another deposition Dr. Terry Blanchard, a reproductive specialist from Texas A & M University, defined breeding soundness as "the ability to efficiently render 75% of mares pregnant when bred naturally to a book of 40 or more mares." In fact, due to compromised fertility (perhaps due to the illness or treatment), Seattle Slew had a 25.9% in-foal rate in 2000, impregnating seven of 27 mares. Semen morphology tests between Feb. 10 and March 10 showed normal semen ranging between 22 percent up to 61%.

Ira Gumberg would not comment or confirm the settlement compensation, except to say he was satisfied with the outcome.