Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is seeking emergency relief from the Alameda County Superior Court to lift a ban preventing him from stabling or racing at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif., according to a report in the Thoroughbred Daily News.
Hollendorfer, along with California Thoroughbred Trainers, filed a complaint asking for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction against the Pacific Racing Association, which is licensed by the California Horse Racing Board to operate a race meet at Golden Gate on behalf of The Stronach Group, which owns the Bay Area track along with Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
Golden Gate Fields opens its late summer race meet on Thursday, Aug. 15.
The Stronach Group told Hollendorfer on June 22 he was no longer welcome at its tracks after a horse in his barn, American Currency, became the 30th fatality at Santa Anita since the meet began Dec. 26. The spike in racing and training fatalities at the Southern California track led to critical media coverage of the racing industry and helped launch an investigation by the Los Angeles district attorney and calls by state and national politicians for Santa Anita to be shut down.
Four of the 30 fatalities were horses from Hollendorfer's stable. He had two horses die at Golden Gate as a result of training injuries: River of Doubt last Nov. 11 and Defiantly on Jan. 6.
The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club also banned Hollendorfer, but a San Diego Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction permitting him to return to the seaside track. In making the ruling, Judge Ronald F. Frazier said his decision was based on two factors: the likelihood that Hollendorfer and CTT would ultimately prevail in court, and the fact that Hollendorfer would sustain irreparable harm if he was not allowed back at Del Mar.
Attorneys for Hollendorfer and CTT cited language in the race meet agreement with Del Mar that decisions to deny stalls by the track would not be made in an “arbitrary or capricious manner.” Frazier agreed the decision by Del Mar was arbitrary. The Thoroughbred Daily News said a similar argument is being made against the Pacific Racing Association/Golden Gate Fields.
The CHRB has taken no action against Hollendorfer, who has never been suspended in more than 40 years of training. Hollendorfer has won 7,628 races from 33,564 starts, second behind Steve Asmussen among active trainers. He is the all-time winningest trainer at Golden Gate, where he won 32 consecutive training titles. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2011.
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