05/10/2010 11:00PM

Douglas files suit over injuries


A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of injured jockey Rene Douglas and his wife, Natalia, seeking damages from Arlington Park, Arlington's parent company, Churchill Downs Inc., as well as two entities associated with the Polytrack racing surface used at Arlington - the Keeneland Association and Martin Collins Surfaces and Footings.

The suit was filed Tuesday in the Circuit Court of Cook County by the Chicago firm Power, Rogers, and Smith P.C. The defendants have 30 days to file an answer to the suit with the court.

Douglas sustained severe injuries to his spine on May 23, 2009, when his mount in the Arlington Matron, Born to Be, fell after being jostled and clipping heels. The horse appeared to roll over onto Douglas, who lost use of his legs in the accident. Another horse, Sky Mom was disqualified from fifth to last because of the Matron incident, and her rider, Jamie Theriot, was handed a 30-day suspension for his role in the accident.

Joseph Power Jr., senior partner at the firm representing Douglas, said the suit dealt with alleged inadequacies of Polytrack, a synthetic surface also in use at Woodbine, Turfway Park, Keeneland, and Del Mar.

Roy Arnold, president of Arlington, said Arlington had no comment on the suit.

"Our position is pretty clear, and we won't be commenting on any ongoing litigation," he said.