Kentucky Supreme Court to Review ‘Claiming Jail’ Lawsuit

by | 11.10.2014 | 6:19pm

The case brought by Jerry Jamgotchian against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission challenging claiming rules that put restrictions on when a claimed horse can race out of state will be heard by the Supreme Court of Kentucky.

The court recently issued an order granting discretionary review of a February 2014 Court of Appeals decision upholding a lower court ruling. The original ruling affirmed Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations that prevent a claimed horse from racing out of state until the race meeting at which it was claimed is concluded.

Jamgotchian, who resides in California, sued the KHRC in May 2011 after claiming a horse at Churchill Downs and attempting to enter it in a race at Penn National and several other tracks outside of Kentucky while the Churchill Downs meet was still under way.

Tracks denied the entry, based on Kentucky's “jail time” requirements of claiming horses. Jamgotchian's suit alleges the regulation is a violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution because it restricted interstate commerce.

A Franklin Court Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of the KHRC in November 2012 and the Court of Appeals upheld the decision, affirming the authority of the KHRC to enact regulations under which horse racing is conducted in the state.

“I was pleased to hear that the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued an order granting discretionary review of my claiming rule case,” Jamgotchian said in a statement. “I'm very hopeful that they will support the rights of all Thoroughbred owners to choose where and when they can race their horse as well as strike down this improper restriction on the free flow of interstate commerce.”

Richard Getty and Kristopher Collman of the Getty Law Group of Lexington, Ky., have represented Jamgotchian on the case.

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