12/31/2009 1:00AM

Bank sues Cash Asmussen over $3M loan


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Fifth Third Bank, which sued prominent racehorse owner Ahmed Zayat's racing operation for more than $34 million, has filed suit against trainer Cash Asmussen and his Mark Point Stables, alleging the operation owes the bank more than $3 million.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Thursday that the suit, filed Dec. 17 in the Fayette Circuit Court, alleges that Asmussen and his wife, Cheryl, failed to make an October payment on a loan of more than $2.99 million and that they owed a total of $3.08 million plus interest by Dec. 8.

Fifth Third has a security interest in Mark Point Stable's equine collateral. The lawsuit also named Laredo National Bank and Bemak N.V. Ltd., the Coolmore Stud subsidiary that owns Ashford Stud, as defendants "because they may also be asserting an interest in the collateral," according to the Herald-Leader.

Asmussen, a five-time champion jockey in France and brother of prominent trainer Steve Asmussen, could not be reached Thursday for comment at his home in Laredo, Texas, or at the Asmussen family's training center, also in Laredo, where an employee who answered the phone said Asmussen was out of town.

Fifth Third attorney John Brice declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Asmussen won the Eclipse Award in 1979 as the nation's top apprentice rider before switching his tack to Europe, where he was based in France. He retired from riding in 2001 and has since been involved in the sport as a consignor, breeder, owner, and manager of racing partnerships.

In December, Fifth Third sued Zayat for allegedly defaulting on an August 2007 loan. According to the suit, Zayat took out a total of more than $38 million in loans between Aug. 1, 2007, and Jan. 14, 2009, and one term of the loans allowed the bank to consider a default on any of the notes a default on all and "accelerate" the principal and interest due on all. Zayat, currently North America's third-leading owner, has said he was "surprised" by the suit.