Kentucky Racing Commission: Jamgotchian Gets License Back, Surick Loses His

Controversial owner/breeder Jerry Jamgotchian will once again be licensed in Kentucky after a unanimous vote Tuesday by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Jamgotchian had previously been denied an owner’s license in the state due to a $538,154 judgment against him from affiliates of Coolmore Stud over unpaid fees, which was domesticated in California.

(Commissioner Charlie O’Connor, who works for Coolmore, abstained from Tuesday’s commission vote.)

In January, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate ruled the commission could not withhold Jamgotchian’s license, because regulations state it can only do so when an applicant has failed to satisfy a judgment for “goods, supplies, services or fees used in the course of any occupation for which a license is required.”

Breeders are not required to be licensed by the state.

“After months of legal wrangling and licensing delays, I’m very happy that the KHRC has issued my license,” Jamgotchian said in an emailed statement. “It’s very unfortunate that this overly burdensome and restrictive KHRC regulation will stop many owners from being licensed to race their horses in Kentucky. I filed my action to help these owners get licensed in the future and ask that the KHRC closely follow Judge Wingate’s licensing direction. Now, let’s get the tracks open so all of us can race our horses in Kentucky!”

Kentucky commission counsel Jennifer Wolsing informed commissioners that staff had run credit histories on Jamgotchian and could find no outstanding financial rulings that would prohibit him from being licensed.

In other licensing news from Tuesday’s meeting, the license of Standardbred trainer Nick Surick has been revoked in response to his indictment on charges of drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy, and obstruction of justice in a large-scale federal case that came to light last month. Wolsing said commission staff determined Surick was the only person named in the indictment who already had a 2020 license in Kentucky. At the time of the ruling revoking his license in Kentucky on March 14, Surick had already had his license revoked in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

Other defendants in the federal case, which centers around the doping of racehorses, have had their names flagged so their status as defendants can be considered if they apply for 2020 licenses.

The commission approved some adjustments to the September racing schedule in the state. Churchill Downs will run on Sept. 1 through 5. Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs will both run on Sept. 7. Churchill and Kentucky Downs are both permitted to run Sept. 6, though Churchill representatives told the race dates committee earlier in the day they would anticipate that date being dark, as it is the day after the rescheduled Kentucky Derby. Ellis would receive financial compensation for giving up some of its dates to Churchill, though the distribution of that compensation was not disclosed.

Commissioners ratified an earlier approval by KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil to allow Churchill Downs to set up a facility and host historical horse racing at the Newport Shopping Center while Turfway Park is under construction.

As expected, the closure of simulcast and historical horse racing facilities in the state have had a stark impact on pari-mutuel wagering for March. While all-source ADW handle is up 31 percent for March, historical horse racing revenues are down 43.4 percent since facilities were closed March 15. April is projected to be similarly bleak year over year.

The post Kentucky Racing Commission: Jamgotchian Gets License Back, Surick Loses His appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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