03/20/2008 11:00PM

Curlin judge says he'll rule


After hearing arguments, a circuit court judge said Friday that he intends to rule on a motion filed by plaintiffs who are seeking control over a 20-percent interest in the 2007 Horse of the Year, Curlin, that is owned by two jailed lawyers who have been ordered to pay the plaintiffs $42 million in connection with a class-action lawsuit over a diet drug.

Circuit Court Judge Roger Crittenden said at the end of a 35-minute hearing at the Franklin County Courthouse in Frankfort, Ky., that he will "render a judgment at some point in time." Crittenden heard arguments from attorneys Angela Ford, who represents the 418 plaintiffs, and Andre Regard, who represents the jailed attorneys, William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham.

Gallion and Cunningham, through the Midnight Cry Stable owned by their umbrella company, Tandy LLC, own a 20-percent interest in Curlin, who is scheduled to run next Saturday as a heavy favorite in the $6 million Dubai World Cup. The lawyers have been jailed in northern Kentucky since last August while awaiting their May 12 criminal trial on fraud charges stemming from a $200 million settlement they reached on behalf of the clients in a class-action suit with the maker of the diet drug combination fen-phen.

Ford told the court she was "looking behind Door No. 3" in her latest attempt for liquidation of the assets of Tandy LLC and other entities believed to be owned and controlled by Gallion and Cunningham. The judge had failed to grant two previous motions by Ford.

"Tandy wants the court to ignore what has happened," she said.

Regard countered that there is no provision in the law to compel Crittenden to rule in favor of the plaintiffs.

The Stonestreet Stable of Jess Jackson owns 80 percent of Curlin after buying out two other partners, Padua Stables and George Bolton.