Attorneys for Maria Borell have submitted three affidavits from Thoroughbred trainers supporting Borell's contention that her former employers, Gallery Racing Stables and owners James and Linda McIngvale, owe her a percentage of purse money won by Runhappy while under her care from April until Nov. 1.
Borell, who was fired Nov. 1, one day after Runhappy won the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Keeneland, filed a breach of contract and defamation lawsuit against the McIngvales seeking 10 percent of purse money won by the colt, two lifetime breeding rights to the horse, and punitive and compensatory damages. The McIngvales have denied that Borell is entitled any percentage of purses because she was a salaried trainer whose expenses were paid by them.
Providing affidavits were trainers Charles Simon, Ken McPeek, and Steven Moyer.
Simon, who trained Runhappy and other horses for the McIngvales from January to October 2014, said he received a “day rate” of $76 plus 12 percent of purses won for first-, second- and third-place finishes.
McPeek, who has not trained for the McIngvales, said in his experience it is customary for trainers to receive 10 to 12 percent of purse winnings whether the trainers are “public” (i.e., training horses for multiple owners) or “private” (having only one client and receiving a salary). McPeek also said it is customary for a trainer to receive a lifetime breeding right to a horse for winning a Grade 1 race.
Moyer, currently an assistant to Jimmy Jerkens in New York, formerly worked for the McIngvales from August 1997 through April 1998. He said he received a $700 per week salary and commission equal to 6.5 percent of purse money the horses in his care won for finishing first through fifth. He trained approximately 20 horses for them during the period in question.
Both Simon and Moyer also spoke of the difficulty they encountered with Laura Wohlers – racing manager for the stable and the twin sister of Linda McIngvale – during their tenure. It was with Wohlers that Borell argued the day after Runhappy's victory over whether to send the colt to the track for training that morning. Borell contended the horse had filling in an ankle and should not be taken to the track. She was fired by Wohlers several hours after their argument.
“To put it bluntly, dealing with Ms. Wohlers was extremely difficult,” said Simon. “She tried to micromanage training from Houston (where she worked for Jim McIngvale's Gallery Furniture store) and disregarded my advice or directions regarding the risks involved in over-training horses.”
“I ended my relationship with the McIngvales in approximately April 1998 principally because of the involvement of Mr. McIngvale's sister-in-law, Laura Wohlers,” said Moyer. “After Ms. Wohlers and her involvement was injected into the training of the McIngvale horses, it became very difficult for me to continue in that position. Ms. Wohlers was very confrontational and, to say the least, was extremely difficult to deal with. It finally reached the point where I severed my relationshiop with the McIngvales.”
The affidavits were entered into the case in support of an effort by Borell to have Breeders' Cup and Keeneland – both named as defendants in the cast – put 10 percent of the winning Breeders' Cup Sprint purse into a Court-monitored interest bearing account until such time as the dispute is decided. A hearing on a motion by Keeneland and Breeders' Cup to be dismissed from the case was scheduled for today.
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