A spokesman for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board said Wednesday that 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin would not be allowed to race in New York until all of his owners are licensed in the state. The license for one of the partners in the Midnight Cry Stable that owns 20% of Curlin, jailed attorney Shirley Cunningham, expired last August. Cunningham has been in custody since August while being tried on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a case involving a class-action lawsuit over a diet drug. One of the other defendents in the case is William Gallion, another partner in Midnight Cry.
The case is expected to go to the jury on Friday.
The licensing issue came to light days before the Belmont Stakes, when Einstein, one of the top runners in the grass division this year, was pointed for the Manhattan Handicap on the Belmont undercard June 7. The New York board told Einstein's connections Cunningham's license had expired and that the horse would not be able to enter the race. Andre Regard, attorney for Midnight Cry, said efforts were made to renew Cunningham's license in New York but was told by an attorney representing the New York board the application would be denied “in the best interests of racing.”
The application was withdrawn, because an official denial by the board would have jeopardized the horse from running in states with licensing reciprocity rules. Einstein ran one week later on the dirt, finishing second to Curlin in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs. Cunningham is still licensed in Kentucky.
Under the current circumstances, Curlin would be denied entry in any race in New York, according to Dan Toomey, a spokesperson for the New York board. In his last start in New York, Curlin won the Jockey Club Gold Cup Sept. 30, more than a month after Cunningham's license had expired.
Another horse in the race, Proudinsky, is owned by Gary Tanaka, who has been under house arrest in New York since 2005 after being arrested on charges of securities fraud with his partner in Amerindo Investment Advisors, Alberto Vilar.
The Manhattan was won by the Phipps Stable's Dancing Forever, who was beaten a neck by Einstein in the Gulfstream Park Turf earlier this year.
By Ray Paulick
Copyright ©2008, The Paulick Report
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