02/13/2004 1:00AM

Court awards Texas owners $250K

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A district court in Shelby County, Texas, has ruled that a horse whose statebred status has been at the center of a dispute be reinstated as an accredited Texas-bred, effective Sept. 27, 2001. The court also awarded the owners of the horse, Chauffe Au Rouge, $250,195. The award is the result of a suit brought by the owners, James Donnan and Gerald Mackey, against the Texas Thoroughbred Association, its executive director, Dave Hooper, and one of its board members, Sue Cook.

The Thoroughbred association will decide at a board meeting this week if it plans to appeal, said Hooper.

The association rescinded the accreditation of Chauffe Au Rouge in January 2002. The decision came after Sam Houston Race Park stewards ruled "false, fraudulent, or incorrect" documents were submitted to make Chauffe Au Rouge eligible for accredited Texas-bred races. The case revolved around whether the horse met requirements of the breed-back rule.

The stewards then ruled to disqualify Chauffe Au Rouge from the $90,000 in purses he had earned winning two statebred stakes in the fall of 2001. The purse money is still being held in an account.

Chauffe Au Rouge is in training with Cole Norman.