05/18/2007 12:00AM

Jackson, de Seroux headed to court


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Thoroughbred owner Jess Jackson and his former bloodstock adviser Emmanuel de Seroux appear headed to court in San Diego on Sept. 28. Three other defendants in Jackson's 2005 lawsuit, which alleges that former advisers defrauded him in bloodstock purchases, recently settled with the Stonestreet Stables owner. But there are no settlement talks with de Seroux and his Narvick International agency, a Jackson attorney said.

Meanwhile, members of de Seroux's camp say they are pressing ahead with their own suit against Jackson.

"The litigation is proceeding," de Seroux's attorney, Daniel Platt, said. "Jess Jackson has been deposed, and we are finally moving towards getting this matter tried on Sept. 28, 2007. Narvick's cross-complaint has not changed and continues to allege that Jackson did not pay it for services rendered, did not pay for outsourcing plaintiff's entire horse racing and breeding operations to Narvick, never paid any fees to Narvick for all of the 163 horse transactions conducted through Narvick, actually required Narvick to obtain any fees from the transaction instead of from Jackson, and did not reimburse Narvick for most of its expenses."

Jackson's original lawsuit alleged that de Seroux, Narvick, trainer Bruce Headley, and associate Brad Martin, working with other agents, defrauded Jackson of "at least $3.2 million" by inflating the prices of horses he bought and accepting undisclosed commissions from sellers. De Seroux has denied that.

In a settlement agreement, Headley paid Jackson $900,000 in March, and Martin agreed to pay $250,000 in a settlement earlier this month. Martin, however, remains a defendant in a separate lawsuit Jackson filed in Kentucky, alleging he was defrauded in his $17.5 million purchase of Buckram Oak Farm in Lexington.

A third agent, Fernando Diaz-Valdes, who had represented sellers in 13 South American transactions, also reached an agreement with Jackson earlier this month, under which Jackson dropped claims against him and he, in turn, dropped a counter-claim against Jackson.

"We considered the monetary claims against him to be minor and peripheral, and anything he received will be recoverable from the remaining defendants, de Seroux and Narvick," Richard Getty, one of Jackson's attorneys, said of Diaz-Valdes.

Headley and Martin, meanwhile, are scheduled to have depositions in June in the case against de Seroux and Narvick.

"Both agreed to pay what the plaintiffs wanted," Getty said of Headley and Martin. "Our effort was to streamline the case and focus it in the final stage on the remaining defendants. . . . We would hope to receive full cooperation from those who have settled."

Getty said he expects the Buckram Oak case also to go to trial in Kentucky.

"We're moving the Buckram Oak case as quickly as we can and expect to go to trial as soon as reasonably possible," he said.

Both cases will be watched closely in the bloodstock sales industry, especially now that Jackson has been named to the Sales Integrity Task Force. The 36-member panel is attempting to refine its nonbinding 2004 code of ethics in horse sales.

"I think this case should send a message to others in the industry that there are certain things that have gone on in the industry that have got to change and are changing," Getty said. "If people don't change, they run the risk of paying the price for their actions. These changes will have no impact on the great majority of people in the industry, who are honest and hardworking."

Ten 2-year-olds top under-tack show

Ten juveniles breezed an eighth-mile in 10.20 seconds to top Thursday's work tab at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic's under-tack preview. The preview day was one of two in advance of the preferred juvenile sale Monday and Tuesday in Timonium, Md.

The 10 horses breezing in 10.20 were Hip No. 282, a Repent-Saramy colt; Hip No. 283, a Put It Back-Saratoga Girl colt; Hip No. 304, a Distorted Humor-Seventh Choice filly; Hip No. 313, a Broken Vow-Sheza Wild Thing filly; Hip No. 329, a Stormy Atlantic-Ski Racer colt; Hip No. 447, a Two Punch-Wumps filly; Hip No. 560, a Smoke Glacken-Copelan's Vanity colt; Hip No. 577, a Bernstein-Daring Dame colt; Hip No. 606, a Kafwain-Dotsie's Doll filly; and Hip No. 623, an Unbridled's Song-Everyday Angel colt.

Hip No. 358, a More Than Ready-Summer Memories filly, posted the day's fastest quarter-mile time of 21.20 seconds. A daughter of Yes It's True and Danzig Tiger selling as Hip No. 522, an addendum to the catalog, had the fastest three-eighths time of 33.60.

Claiborne buys into Easing Along

Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky., has purchased a half-interest in the Storm Cat-Cadillacing horse Easing Along, Argentina's leading freshman sire.

The 9-year-old stallion was bred by the Phipps family and was raised at Claiborne before launching his racing career. At the track, he won 2 of 6 career starts, earning $56,390.

Easing Along is a half-brother to Strolling Along and Cat Cay. His first crop in Argentina includes such runners as Grade 1 winner Que Piensa Cat and Grade 2 winner Compasivo Cat.

Easing Along will stand at Claiborne in 2008, shuttling there from El Alfalfar in the Southern Hemisphere. He will arrive this fall at Claiborne, which hasn't announced a fee.