09/12/2014 3:23PM

Fines for claim conspirators


Two men have been fined $1,250 apiece for their roles in a voided $5,000 claim that occurred following a race last weekend at Churchill Downs.

The Churchill stewards issued the fines Friday against owner Tim Brown and his brother-in-law, Kenny Hickman, after Hickman made what is known as a protective claim for Au Moon, an 8-year-old gelding who was a 9 3/4-length winner of the first race here Sept. 7 under Brown’s silks.

Hickman, who was not on hand Sunday to care for Au Moon after the race, was purported to have signed the only claim submitted for Au Moon, but the claim was voided after the stewards interviewed both men this week. Hickman has not run a horse in his name since March 30 at Turfway Park.

“They both were very forthcoming, honest, and apologetic,” said chief steward Barbara Borden.

Three Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations articulating the illegality of such a claim were cited in the ruling, one of which reads in part that a person “shall not claim a horse in his or her care, directly or indirectly, for his own account.” As brothers-in-law, Brown and Hickman were deemed to be acting on each other’s behalf, said Borden.

David Carroll, who has trained Au Moon throughout the gelding’s 29-race career that began in October 2008, was absolved of wrongdoing in the incident.

Au Moon, an earner of $188,922, is still owned by Brown and has been returned to the Carroll barn at Churchill, although Borden said it has not been determined whether Carroll will continue to train him. Au Moon, who had been competing in the midlevel claiming ranks and in starter races since returning from a lengthy layoff in November 2012, had never dropped so low in price and is now eligible for $5,000 starter races.

A protective claim is one with the intent of returning a horse to its original owner or trainer after a 30-day moratorium has elapsed. Such a move is typically undertaken when it is believed a horse will be claimed by an outside interest and its current connections are hoping to keep the horse by way of winning a post-race “shake” for the horse.

Robert More than 1 year ago
Hate to inform you guys of this but this happens every week at every track.
Philip Conforti More than 1 year ago
Cdi doesn't report handle .
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
You are partially correct, however they do post individual race pool totals and that is what DRF uses when they do write about handle for the Oaks, Derby etc.
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
Wow - I had forgotten that they were still racing at CDI after Derby Day. Guess it is because I have bought into the "boycott". Would be nice if DRF reported on comparative numbers, of course that would require some "journalism".
Greg More than 1 year ago
Churchill needs these 5000 claimer people to stay alive, with all the bredding in the state an these horseman paying 200000 for yearlings at the sale, where r they all going? UK
mikey More than 1 year ago
Just another black mark on racing.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
because this has never ever happened before.....please..it's a BUSINESS first
Russ Jenkins More than 1 year ago
Oh...well...guess that makes it ok.
mikey More than 1 year ago
This is why race tracks are in a bad way.Without slots where would they be..This is why they do things like this guy's like you sat so what.
Steve More than 1 year ago
And these geniuses in Kentucky fined trainer A.C. Avila only $750 for falsifying his application (withholding medication violations) which would have resulted in him not being licensed in Kentucky. So on Ky. Derby day, he ships in with Masochistic, a Cal Bred who was eligible to run for much higher purses in CA and who was drugged in his first start, to win by the length of the stretch at 2/1 with the connections probably making a killing betting into the huge Derby day pools. They give little or no deterrent for future shenanigans by licensees
HatzOffToNixon More than 1 year ago
Masochistic was a wonderful putover. Have you no respect for the theatrics of it?
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
Don't really care one way or the other as I am not in the "horse owning" business...I am in the "horse betting" business. I don't know for sure, but I have my doubts about whether this sort of activity impacts the outcome of the race...so whatever the stewards handed out in this case is probably fair.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
How would it effect the outcome
Harvey Savitsky More than 1 year ago
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Happens every day in this industry. Is technically a federal offense. Unreal just a slap on wrist.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
a federal offense Tom..really...stop it
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Fraud...lets go a step further. Vince..I'm going to hold my horse 5 times. Maybe even ease him. Then drop him into $8000 claimer so he's eligible for starter allowance. You claim him for me for 8k...n we'll cash a bet as well as make a kiliing two years in the 8k starters...sound legal?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's about time to abolish claiming races. Every heat could be written with various types of allowance conditions ("For horses who have not run a Beyer Speed Figure of 60 since January 1, 2014.") I know there are reasons for claiming races, but there are better reasons against them. First, a trainer spends a lot a time and effort to get a horse in peak condition, but has to risk him to a claim because the horse is out of conditions. Second, what kind of wagering game requires the bettors to guess which claiming horse is really a sure thing on the drop, or which horse is ready to breakdown?
Quite a More than 1 year ago
Interesting idea. Would certainly create market for horses for sale. Unfortunately the claiming game is so deeply intertwined in american racing it would take a collapse of the industry for an idea like yours to take wing , IMHO..
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Were you kidding or drunk when you wrote that.
Howard Schwartz More than 1 year ago
A slap on the wrist. They both should have been suspended for 5 years off. I cannot believe the trainer was not involved. If a horse in his care is claimed and is back in his stall that night, something aint right. It was his duty to immediately report it. If you cannot play by the rules, you should not be allowed to play the game.