12/14/2011 12:44PM

Biancone files defamation suit against owner Strawbridge

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Trainer Patrick Biancone has sued Thoroughbred owner-breeder George Strawbridge for defamation, claiming that remarks Strawbridge made during a speech in late October slandered his reputation, according to court papers.

The suit cites an Oct. 31, 2011, speech that Strawbridge made to the Thoroughbred Club of America in Lexington in which Strawbridge said that “we all know the story of a trainer caught with enough snake venom to poison a small country, and he is still training in the U.S. By the way, this trainer is banned in the rest of the world.”

While not mentioning Biancone by name, the suit states that the remarks were obviously intended to refer to Biancone, who was suspended in 2007 by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for six months on charges of possession of snake venom, a neurotoxin that can be used to deaden pain.

The suit states that the allegation that Biancone is banned in all other racing jurisdictions is false, and it further claims that Biancone did not “posses” the venom, since it was discovered in a refrigerator in his barn.

“Truth in fact is that the plaintiff is eligible to race and train horses in any jurisdiction which races Thoroughbred horses in the world and ‘he is not banned in the rest of the world’ and he never possessed any amount of snake venom let alone ‘enough venom to poison a small country,’ ” the suit states.

The suit is seeking punitive damages for defamation.