Woman Claims Lawsuit Over Registration Of Filly A ‘Smear Campaign’

by | 01.10.2017 | 4:50pm
Filibustin and her connections after the filly won Aqueduct's Key Cents Stakes in 2016
Filibustin and her connections after the filly won Aqueduct's Key Cents Stakes in 2016

A lawsuit filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court alleges that the Thoroughbred filly Filibustin was fraudulently registered, making the horse's owner ineligible to collect New York-bred incentive money he contends he is due from the state's Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund.

The New York Post and Daily News reported that businessman Alan R. Cook is suing a former employee, Jacquie Dalton Fiorito, the Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund and The Jockey Club, the latter being the Thoroughbred breed registry.

In his lawsuit, Cook claims that he is the sole breeder of Filibustin because he owns the filly's dam, Sweet Aloha. According to the published reports, he is seeking damages from Fiorito and the New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund totaling $165,000 and an order that The Jockey Club change the name of the registered  breeder.

Fiorito was the chief operating officer of Cook's aviation company, Metropolitan Aviation, until she was terminated in March 2016. Cook, according to the published reports, says he fired Fiorito for “insubordination.” Fiorito told the Paulick Report: “I did not get fired for insubordination. I was fired on the last day of medical leave. It was the same day I filed a protective order against him (March 9, 2016, in Virginia).”

The suit claims that Fiorito “fraudulently” registered Filibustin under her own breeding entity, Luck Be A Lady Racing, and that the registration should be changed to his name.

Because of the dispute, the Breeding and Development Fund has withheld breeder awards to either party.

Fiorito said she has not been served and therefore has not seen the complaint.

Jacquie Dalton Fiorito

Jacquie Dalton Fiorito

Fiorito worked for New Jersey-based trainer John Forbes as a jockey in the early 1990s (under the name Jacquie Dalton), winning 19 races from 202 mounts. She began Luck Be a Lady Racing as a breeding operation in 2008 and, she said, entered into a verbal agreement with Cook in 2011 to sell 50 percent interest in her two foals “on the ground” and 100 percent of future foals from mares she bred. The agreement, she said, allowed Cook to collect any sale or racetrack earnings and her to retain incentive awards from the Breeding and Development Fund.

Fiorito told the Paulick Report she has collected and paid taxes on the state incentive awards earned through the agreement, adding that all seven foals she's bred have won races.

In 2013, Fiorito said she planned to breed her mare, Jumpin Jacqueline, to New York stallion Bustin Stones but changed plans because it would be too late in the breeding season. Fiorito said Cook agreed to supply his mare, Sweet Aloha, if Fiorito supplied the season she had acquired in Bustin Stones.

Filibustin, the resulting foal, a filly born in 2014, won her first three starts of 2016: a Monmouth Park maiden claiming race, the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes at Belmont Park and the Key Cents Stakes at Aqueduct – the latter two races for New York foaled runners.

“I haven't stolen a piece of bubble gum in my life,” Fiorito told the Paulick Report. “This is a smear campaign. It's vicious.”

Fiorito said both The Jockey Club and the Fund “have been professional and tactful. I'm just sorry for what everybody is being put through.”

The Jockey Club issued the following statement on the matter: “Alan R. Cook filed a complaint in Supreme Court, New York County, on Sunday. He named three defendants, (1) Jacquie Dalton Fiorito, (2) New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund Corporation; and (3) The Jockey Club. The Development Fund was established by New York State statute and operates under New York State Rules and Regulations.

“Mr. Cook's complaint is about whether he or Ms. Dalton Fiorito is entitled to New York State breeder incentive awards payable by the Development Fund. Only the Development Fund has the power to resolve their dispute by interpreting and applying its own rules and interpreting its own definitions following its own established procedures.

“The Development Fund's rules specify who is entitled to receive those awards and provide the processes, standards, and definitions to do so. They do not refer to the Jockey Club or the Jockey Club's own rules, which are entirely separate from the Development Funds rules and are designed for The Jockey Club to carry out its role as the Thoroughbred registry, not granting New York State incentive awards.

“In fact, Mr. Cook's complaint says that the key question in deciding who is entitled to the Development Fund incentive awards is the definition of ‘breeder.' He quotes the different definitions of that word in the Development Fund's rule and The Jockey Club's rule. The Development Fund's definition and process is what decides who gets the money, not The Jockey Club's.

“The dispute Mr. Cook is asking the court to resolve belongs before the Development Fund and is not for a court at this stage. In addition, it is improper for Mr. Cook to draw The Jockey Club into his dispute with Ms. Fiorito and the Development Fund. The Jockey Club will review its legal options and take steps consistent with these facts, the law, and its interests.”

CORRECTION: An early version of this article erroneously stated The Jockey Club was being sued for $100,000.

 

  • greg

    “he waited til she won eligible purse money” ok, so, that doesn’t change who the breeder is. That’s like a man abandoning his kid until his kid is a famous rapper or BB star making million’s of $$$ a year, he is still his blood even if what he did was crappy. OK, bad analogy but it sounded good :)

    • Larry Ensor

      Maybe he was just waiting until he had a solid reason to sue and for the cost of. Sounds like bad blood to me

      When the s**t hit the fan after the financial melt down a guy that we boarded a bunch of mares for left us holding the bag for a LOT of money owed. A LOT OF MONEY. Him and others.

      He had the balls to get on to me asking me to sign off on the state bred registration paper work. I said sure as soon as you send me a check for what is owed and it clears.

      He forged my name AND had it notarized. But it didn’t pass the sniff test and the PA breeders association called me asking questions.

  • Sampan

    Cook received his horses’ purse winnings, no problem there.
    The problem is Fiorito set it up to cheat Cook out of his breeder incentive bonuses.
    She has no bill of sale or agreement to cover her involvement as breeder.

    • Larry Ensor

      Don’y know how NY works. Unless there is a “side” agreement or written into the Bill of Sale Breeders’ Awards don’t “Travel” with the sale of a horse. If done I should think the NY Breeders’ Association would have to be notified. Tax ID changed to the “new” Breeder and where to send the check.

      In Pa the awards are sent to the Breeder of record. The name on the JC registration papers. If there are partners. When the state bred registration is submitted the “breeder/s of record” have to name 1 person who the Breeders’ Award checks will be issued and sent to. That person has to give a tax ID number also.

      If there are partners it is up to that person to pay their partners. If a Breeder has an employee who looks after this. They will most likely have Power of Attorney to fill out and sign all paper work.

      Hardly the first person/employee with this privilege that has forged paper work and “issued” checks to themselves.

      IMO this opens up an interesting can of worms.

      • Annette Orlando

        In New York, the breeder of record HAS to match that of the Jockey Club and they always check, or at least that’s been my experience. I did have an instance where an owner bought a mare with the foal at her side and they drew up papers that he would receive the breeders awards and be the breeder of record. The NYS breeding fund had certain criteria for that to be done.

        • Zaskar13

          One of the missing pieces here is how did Fiorito become the owner of FILIBUSTIN. If she bought the the broodmare in-foal then from my understanding she’s the breeder. But if she purchase FILIBUSTIN after she was born, then the owner of SWEET ALOHA at the time of the sale is the breeder.

          • Meg Hiers

            It sounds like Cook is the owner of the foal. However, couldn’t they verify there was an agreement in place ( if only verbal), by how the stallion season was charged. if Cook paid for it, then his story has more weight. If it was a season owned by Fiorito, doesn’t her story carry more weight? Not sure if that matters legally or not if the rule just states who owns the mare.

        • Larry Ensor

          That’s the way it works in PA. If someone buys a mare with a foal at side and that foal has not been registered. The Breeder of record will the person that registered the foal. Be it the buyer or the seller Regardless if the person bought the mare after the foal was born.

          But this should be included in the wording in the Bill of Sale. As you did. Keeps things from becoming a “He said, she said” situation.

  • The precedence for this I believe is the owner of the mare listed with the JC when bred is the breader of the foal unless there is written signed agreement otherwise (lease) if NY follows that convention IMO thats how it will turn out

  • lastromantibune

    in NYwho ever owned the mare ( or was leasing her)at the time she “foaled” is the breeder…no ifs ands or but’s.

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