Court upholds Kentucky claiming restriction

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A circuit court judge in Kentucky upheld the state’s racing commission regulation restricting claimed horses from competing at other tracks until the meeting from which the horse was claimed is over. The rule was challenged last year by California-based owner Jerry Jamgotchian, who said the rule violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip J. Shepherd on Thursday granted a motion by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for summary judgment and denied Jamgotchian’s motion.

Other states have adopted similar rules restricting the entry of claimed horses at other tracks.


In making the ruling, Shepherd said that the “administrative regulation is a proper exercise of the Commission’s regulatory authority that does not on its face discriminate against interstate commerce, that any incidental burden on interstate commerce as a result of this regulation is slight, and that the local benefits of the regulation outweigh any burden on interstate commerce. Accordingly, the plaintiff’s Commerce Clause challenge must be rejected, and the validity of the regulation must be sustained.”

Jamgotchian claimed the Pennsylvania-bred maiden filly Rochitta for $40,000 from a race at Churchill Downs on May 17, 2011. When he attempted to enter the filly at Penn National, the ruling states, a representative of that track called the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to inquire about any claiming race restrictions and was told such an action would violate 810 KAR 1:015, 1 (6) (b).

“Plaintiff, fearing fines and the loss of his Kentucky racing license, declined to participate in the race, forfeiting his entry fee,” Shepherd wrote. “Plaintiff entered the horse into three subsequent races, knowing of the restriction.”

Rochitta eventually raced at Presque Isle Downs on July 8, 2011, four days after the Churchill Downs meeting closed.

Jamgotchian sued the commission, saying the regulation restricts interstate commerce guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Shepherd, however, noted “governments may enact regulations that ensure proper operation of necessary governmental services, even if those regulations have an incidental burden (on) interstate commerce.”

Attorneys for Jamgotchian argued that horse racing is not a “governmental service” but Shepherd wrote that “there can be no question that regulation of horse racing is, and always has been, a traditional government function.”

In addition, Shepherd wrote, “The duration and scope of the restriction appears to impose relatively minimal burdens on interstate commerce, as the restriction only applies for the duration of the meet in which the horse was purchased (in Mr. Jamgotchian’s case, 42 days.)”

Jamgotchian, who did not indicate whether or not he would appeal, made the following statement in reaction to the ruling: “This is yet another reason why many horse owners are getting out of horse racing, racetracks are closing and the sport is declining in handle, popularity and attendance. This unfortunate decision against horse owner rights will hurt everyone and promises to further reduce field size, available broodmares, stallion books and close many more breeding farms in Kentucky and throughout the United States. Let’s see how well the racetracks and the racing commissions can survive without horses and owners.”

Click here to read Judge Shepherd’s Opinion and Order.

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  • Jerry

    …………………..MORE BAD NEWS FOR HORSEOWNERS AND HORSERACING………………..

    Here’s yet another reason NOT to be an owner of thoroughbred racehorses. Where else are your ownership rights restricted in this manner? Why can’t you take and race your claimed horse wherever you want?This ruling is not based on the law but on protection of Churchill Downs. We’ll see how Churchill does when they don’t have enough horses and owners to race at their track!!!! Their answer will be fewer race days which means fewer jobs, lower handle, reduced purses and higher fees……..This ridiculous ruling will hurt the entire industry but Churchill Downs could care less about the industry. They only care about making money!!!!!!Jerry

    • Ace

       Jerry,
      That ruling is a pos, for sure.  However, I am pretty sure you are in it for the money as well.  Don’t indict anyone for trying to earn a profit.
      But, that ruling is patently absurd.

    • LongTimeEconomist

      Jerry, the rule is designed to prevent a shortage of horses at a track.

      And, as for fewer owners at Churchill, there is one in particular most racing fans would prefer to stay away, so hopefully you will. 

    • freewill72

      You’re just now coming to the conclusion that they only care about making money?

      Anyway, you’re making the wrong arguments to the wrong people. This is something for a federal judge to examine, not a local one. Invoking a federal clause to argue in a local court is a losing game. Besides, you didn’t honestly think you’re going to win a horse-racing case in the national “home” of racing, did you?

      Also, when you say that it’s a reason not to own a racehorse, it sounds like “I can’t get my way, so no one should play”. You know who makes an argument like that? A spoiled brat. You have a goal that I don’t disagree with, but you’re acting like a child because the court didn’t agree with your reasoning. You have options. Buy privately. Don’t claim in what you see as “restrictive” states. Wait until the waning days of a meet to claim. Follow the regulations as they exist. Or take your ball and go home…quietly. But you’re not the center of the universe. Stop thinking you are Michael Gill and the world revolves around your desires.

      Kentucky owes you nothing. Nor will Kentucky wither and die because they won’t have you to kick around anymore. Reasonable “jail” regs aren’t a bad idea, fighting to get them is not a bad idea. Torching bridges like a pyromaniac, though? Take a guess as to how that will turn out for you.

  • Jerry

    …………………..MORE BAD NEWS FOR HORSEOWNERS AND HORSERACING………………..

    Here’s yet another reason NOT to be an owner of thoroughbred racehorses. Where else are your ownership rights restricted in this manner? Why can’t you take and race your claimed horse wherever you want?This ruling is not based on the law but on protection of Churchill Downs. We’ll see how Churchill does when they don’t have enough horses and owners to race at their track!!!! Their answer will be fewer race days which means fewer jobs, lower handle, reduced purses and higher fees……..This ridiculous ruling will hurt the entire industry but Churchill Downs could care less about the industry. They only care about making money!!!!!!Jerry

  • GB

    Oh no…..Not you again.

  • GB

    Oh no…..Not you again.

  • Ace

     Jerry,
    That ruling is a pos, for sure.  However, I am pretty sure you are in it for the money as well.  Don’t indict anyone for trying to earn a profit.
    But, that ruling is patently absurd.

  • voiceofreason

    Are they saying the days of taking a claiming horse from a track where he/she isn’t competitive and racing them where they have a better shot of winning is now ILLEGAL?  It simply can’t BE.

    • Kathleen

      If they can’t win at the track, for the price that it was claimed, it was a bad claim. Suck it up.

      • Ace

         Your ignorance of the claiming game is astounding.  Congrats.

        • Roisin

          The claiming game is bad news from start to finish.

  • voiceofreason

    Are they saying the days of taking a claiming horse from a track where he/she isn’t competitive and racing them where they have a better shot of winning is now ILLEGAL?  It simply can’t BE.

  • RazorRaceFan

    A very logical decision. When you agree to race in a given state and apply for a license, you are agreeing to follow the rules of racing in that state. If you don’t like the rules of racing in a given state, don’t race your horses there. The decision should be applauded.

  • RazorRaceFan

    A very logical decision. When you agree to race in a given state and apply for a license, you are agreeing to follow the rules of racing in that state. If you don’t like the rules of racing in a given state, don’t race your horses there. The decision should be applauded.

  • LongTimeEconomist

    Jerry, the rule is designed to prevent a shortage of horses at a track.

    And, as for fewer owners at Churchill, there is one in particular most racing fans would prefer to stay away, so hopefully you will. 

  • T.N. Trosin

    Well at least Jerry figured out to undo his cap lock button. 

    • Kris

      T.N. Trosin, Jerry didn’t learn how to undo his Caps Locks button; it broke!!!

  • T.N. Trosin

    Well at least Jerry figured out to undo his cap lock button. 

  • Kathleen

    If they can’t win at the track, for the price that it was claimed, it was a bad claim. Suck it up.

  • PWK

    There has always been some kind of restriction on a claimed horse at every track that I have been to. The reference is “being in jail”. I don’t understand why you people act like it is such a big deal. It was always a part of business of the rules of a particular track. Some vary, some are only 30 days. It all depends on the state/track. But we just worked with it. It was accepted by trainers and owners alike and to me seems like a fair, understandable rule to keep the horse at the track. This way a person can’t swoop in and claim horses to fill a barn elsewhere. . .There has to be somewhat of an investment at the track if you are going to claim there. Nature of the game

    • LongTimeEconomist

      Some states had an exception to run in a stakes race.

  • PWK

    There has always been some kind of restriction on a claimed horse at every track that I have been to. The reference is “being in jail”. I don’t understand why you people act like it is such a big deal. It was always a part of business of the rules of a particular track. Some vary, some are only 30 days. It all depends on the state/track. But we just worked with it. It was accepted by trainers and owners alike and to me seems like a fair, understandable rule to keep the horse at the track. This way a person can’t swoop in and claim horses to fill a barn elsewhere. . .There has to be somewhat of an investment at the track if you are going to claim there. Nature of the game

  • LongTimeEconomist

    Some states had an exception to run in a stakes race.

  • Jerry

    FEWER OWNERS = LESS HORSES = LESS RACES = LESS FOALS = LESS RACING DAYS = FEWER STALLIONS = LOWER PURSES = LESS FUN FOR ALL INCLUDING THE FANS.
    If owners can’t control their own personal property, the sport will just continue to suffer, lose market share and participants. If the tracks want to control the horses, then have them BUY AND RACE THEIR OWN HORSES! They won’t do that because horseracing is passion (not economically) driven.

    This ridiculous “hometown” judicial ruling just hurts the sport, favors the tracks and sends a CLEAR MESSAGE to all horseowners that their ownership rights are now in severe jeopardy. It might now be time to seek other investment opportunities (outside of horseracing) with their available capital!!!!!

    • Ace

       Jerry-
      You are right of course.  But Ky. is a backassward swamp of ignorance and corruption-just think, we will have a judge who used to be Damon Thayer’s boss-I sure he is a legal genuis.
      Anyway, its obvious that the ruling is spurious.  I hope you have the money and time to appeal further up the line to where the judges actually uphold the law and not their buddy’s pov.

    • 5k-claim

      Jerry,

        Why don’t you just offer to buy, via private sale, the horses that you are interested in?

      If you buy the horse privately then you can immediately do whatever you want and nobody will care.

      If you use the mechanism of claiming races to purchase horses then you understand that there are rules and restrictions.  Deal with it.
       

    • Kyhorseman00

      Jerry, maybe if everyone in the horse industry didn’t dislike you so much for your brute and litigious attitude, your cause would seem a little more compelling. As it stands, no one is going to listen to some jerk who they want out of the horse business anyway. There are reasons behind the rule and if you don’t like it, you can get the hell out of the state all together. I’m sure that no one would miss you. 

    • Mick

      Please, Jerry, feel free to explore other investment opportunities. Leave horseracing to true sportsman who don’t get their rocks off living out their conspiracy theories.

  • Jerry

    FEWER OWNERS = LESS HORSES = LESS RACES = LESS FOALS = LESS RACING DAYS = FEWER STALLIONS = LOWER PURSES = LESS FUN FOR ALL INCLUDING THE FANS.
    If owners can’t control their own personal property, the sport will just continue to suffer, lose market share and participants. If the tracks want to control the horses, then have them BUY AND RACE THEIR OWN HORSES! They won’t do that because horseracing is passion (not economically) driven.

    This ridiculous “hometown” judicial ruling just hurts the sport, favors the tracks and sends a CLEAR MESSAGE to all horseowners that their ownership rights are now in severe jeopardy. It might now be time to seek other investment opportunities (outside of horseracing) with their available capital!!!!!

  • Ace

     Jerry-
    You are right of course.  But Ky. is a backassward swamp of ignorance and corruption-just think, we will have a judge who used to be Damon Thayer’s boss-I sure he is a legal genuis.
    Anyway, its obvious that the ruling is spurious.  I hope you have the money and time to appeal further up the line to where the judges actually uphold the law and not their buddy’s pov.

  • 5k-claim

    Jerry,

      Why don’t you just offer to buy, via private sale, the horses that you are interested in?

    If you buy the horse privately then you can immediately do whatever you want and nobody will care.

    If you use the mechanism of claiming races to purchase horses then you understand that there are rules and restrictions.  Deal with it.
     

  • Kris

    I didn’t realize that Jerry Jam’s inability to move a recently claimed horse to another track was one of the reasons horse racing suffers with a decline in attendance.  Well, now I know!

  • Kris

    I didn’t realize that Jerry Jam’s inability to move a recently claimed horse to another track was one of the reasons horse racing suffers with a decline in attendance.  Well, now I know!

  • Kris

    T.N. Trosin, Jerry didn’t learn how to undo his Caps Locks button; it broke!!!

  • freewill72

    You’re just now coming to the conclusion that they only care about making money?

    Anyway, you’re making the wrong arguments to the wrong people. This is something for a federal judge to examine, not a local one. Invoking a federal clause to argue in a local court is a losing game. Besides, you didn’t honestly think you’re going to win a horse-racing case in the national “home” of racing, did you?

    Also, when you say that it’s a reason not to own a racehorse, it sounds like “I can’t get my way, so no one should play”. You know who makes an argument like that? A spoiled brat. You have a goal that I don’t disagree with, but you’re acting like a child because the court didn’t agree with your reasoning. You have options. Buy privately. Don’t claim in what you see as “restrictive” states. Wait until the waning days of a meet to claim. Follow the regulations as they exist. Or take your ball and go home…quietly. But you’re not the center of the universe. Stop thinking you are Michael Gill and the world revolves around your desires.

    Kentucky owes you nothing. Nor will Kentucky wither and die because they won’t have you to kick around anymore. Reasonable “jail” regs aren’t a bad idea, fighting to get them is not a bad idea. Torching bridges like a pyromaniac, though? Take a guess as to how that will turn out for you.

  • Ace

     Your ignorance of the claiming game is astounding.  Congrats.

  • Starofthecrop

    I’m sure his trainer Kay Reed handled the situation with class considering that she is one of the classiest women on the backside. You should be proud JJ!

  • Starofthecrop

    I’m sure his trainer Kay Reed handled the situation with class considering that she is one of the classiest women on the backside. You should be proud JJ!

  • Concerned Observer

    It is personal Jerry. Apparenty the entire racing industry got together at a secret meeting and colluded to design ways to screw Jerry J. If….You  are a victim of a conspiracy and only the fat azz ambulance chasing Kentucky TV ad lawyer can gain justice and freedom for you. Jerry, save us from the foul clutches of horse evil. 
    Please, put on your cape and rescue us!!!!

    Is there a number where we can call in to a talk radio show and discuss this conspiracy theory?

    ………Is that Hollywood enough for you?

  • Concerned Observer

    It is personal Jerry. Apparenty the entire racing industry got together at a secret meeting and colluded to design ways to screw Jerry J. If….You  are a victim of a conspiracy and only the fat azz ambulance chasing Kentucky TV ad lawyer can gain justice and freedom for you. Jerry, save us from the foul clutches of horse evil. 
    Please, put on your cape and rescue us!!!!

    Is there a number where we can call in to a talk radio show and discuss this conspiracy theory?

    ………Is that Hollywood enough for you?

  • Kyhorseman00

    Jerry, maybe if everyone in the horse industry didn’t dislike you so much for your brute and litigious attitude, your cause would seem a little more compelling. As it stands, no one is going to listen to some jerk who they want out of the horse business anyway. There are reasons behind the rule and if you don’t like it, you can get the hell out of the state all together. I’m sure that no one would miss you. 

  • Roisin

    The claiming game is bad news from start to finish.

  • bill marshall

    Most of you folks have no understanding of the Commerce Clause of the U. S. Constitution.  It would surprise you to know that it applies here, regardless of what a state court judge says.  This matter should have been in federal court where, in all likelihood, a different result would have been reached.

    • Concerned Observer

      When I  enter my horse in a claiming race, I do so with the understanding that the claimer does so with certain restrictions. Understanding those restrictions is apart of my agreement to sell my horse at a certain price. What are my rights under the commerce cause.?..which I do undertand by the way.

      • bill marshall

        Unfortunately, your understanding of any claiming restrictions can not act as an impediment to interstate commerce.  Any law, or regulation, passed by a state and designed to benefit in-state commerce in such a way that burdens out of state commerce is absolutely prohibited, at least so says the U. S. Supreme Court.  Economic protectionalism is prohibited by a long string of cases from our highest Court.

        This is exactly what the jail time rule effects.  It protects the local track at the expense of the track in another state that can use the horse, too.  Anything like this that prevents a free flow of commerce between the states is prohibited by federal authority. 

        Your rights, under the Commerce Clause, are to take your horse (your property) and run him anywhere you want to.  If someone claims him, they have the same right.

  • bill marshall

    Most of you folks have no understanding of the Commerce Clause of the U. S. Constitution.  It would surprise you to know that it applies here, regardless of what a state court judge says.  This matter should have been in federal court where, in all likelihood, a different result would have been reached.

  • Mick

    Please, Jerry, feel free to explore other investment opportunities. Leave horseracing to true sportsman who don’t get their rocks off living out their conspiracy theories.

  • Concerned Observer

    When I  enter my horse in a claiming race, I do so with the understanding that the claimer does so with certain restrictions. Understanding those restrictions is apart of my agreement to sell my horse at a certain price. What are my rights under the commerce cause.?..which I do undertand by the way.

  • bill marshall

    Unfortunately, your understanding of any claiming restrictions can not act as an impediment to interstate commerce.  Any law, or regulation, passed by a state and designed to benefit in-state commerce in such a way that burdens out of state commerce is absolutely prohibited, at least so says the U. S. Supreme Court.  Economic protectionalism is prohibited by a long string of cases from our highest Court.

    This is exactly what the jail time rule effects.  It protects the local track at the expense of the track in another state that can use the horse, too.  Anything like this that prevents a free flow of commerce between the states is prohibited by federal authority. 

    Your rights, under the Commerce Clause, are to take your horse (your property) and run him anywhere you want to.  If someone claims him, they have the same right.

  • Coyotebait

    Of course it’s legal …like everything else racing’s “powers-that-be” is and has been doing to destroy the “little man.” It makes you wonder who will be claiming and buying the culls and cast-offs of the big boys.

    …Racing as it was meant to be…???

  • Coyotebait

    Of course it’s legal …like everything else racing’s “powers-that-be” is and has been doing to destroy the “little man.” It makes you wonder who will be claiming and buying the culls and cast-offs of the big boys.

    …Racing as it was meant to be…???

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