Sale Companies to Repossess Horses Bought By Sykes

Having failed to collect on past due accounts, Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton plan to repossess most of the 134 horses purchased late in 2000 by Bernice L. Givens Sykes and offer them at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed auction Feb. 12.

Sykes signed tickets for nearly $700,000 worth of stock. She spent $267,700 for 59 horses at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale in Kentucky, and another $431,100 for 75 head at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale in Maryland.

Fasig-Tipton will not attempt to repossess 12 of Sykes' Fasig-Tipton Midlantic purchases that were sent to Florida because the costs of board and shipping will exceed their value, said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton's executive vice president and chief operating officer. But after the February mixed auction, the company does plan to sue Sykes for any remaining deficit, he said.

Keeneland already has reached agreements to sell several of Sykes' purchases privately, according to the company's director of finance, Harvie Wilkinson. Plans also include pursuing civil action against Sykes to recover any money she still owes Keeneland following the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky February auction. In addition, Keeneland officials will review the company's procedure for approving buyers' credit applications.

"The procedure is not broken, but we are going to review it," Wilkinson said. "We also will review the information that she (Sykes) gave us to get her credit approved. But, you've got to remember, this is a rare event. For every one likes this, there are a thousand buyers whose credit goes through without a problem."

Sykes, who gave a Maryland address to sale companies, also has not paid the board bills for 122 horses at Winning Ways Farm near Paris, Ky., farm owner Mary Anne Parris said. By Deirdre B. Biles