A Southern California judge could rule later this week on a complaint filed by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer against the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC) over the racetrack's ban of the Hall of Famer. Meanwhile, court documents relating to the matter were obtained by USA Today and reveal in more detail Del Mar's reasons for the decision.
In a 13-page filing with the San Diego County Superior Court, Del Mar attorney Chris Jaczko noted that Hollendorfer was responsible for 15% of recent equine fatalities at Santa Anita Park (four of 30) and Golden Gate Fields (two of nine). He also said the California horse racing industry was mired in 'an almost existential crisis,' due to pressure from media, lawmakers and animal welfare advocates over the deaths.
“Ordering DMTC to permit Hollendorfer to train and race horses at Del Mar will lead to cries that DMTC is not doing what it can to ensure horse safety, and if a fatal injury were to occur to one of his horses, the clamor to end horse racing would be deafening,” Jaczko wrote.
Del Mar's president, Josh Rubenstein, also submitted a statement to the court, revealing that Hollendorfer's attorney, Drew Couto, told Rubenstein “we get it. Jerry's radioactive” after being informed of the ban.
The California Thoroughbred Trainers joined Hollendorfer's filing against Del Mar, arguing the decision was arbitrary and capricious and that Hollendorfer was denied due process. Couto further claims the Stronach Group, owner of both racetracks, is to blame for the rash of fatalities due to “gross mismanagement.”
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