11/14/2008 12:00AM

Judge to hear Curlin sale proposal

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - A Franklin County, Ky., civil court judge has scheduled a hearing for Monday as the first step in a motion to consider a private sale of a 20 percent share in the 2007 Horse of the Year, Curlin, to the colt's majority owner, Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables.

Judge Roger Crittenden scheduled the hearing on Thursday after a court-appointed receiver charged with liquidating the share filed a motion to sell the 20 percent interest privately to Jackson, according to The Blood-Horse. Jackson already owns 80 percent of Curlin.

The receiver, Sylvius von Saucken, declined to comment on the motion on Friday through a spokesperson, citing a gag order issued by Crittenden.

The 20 percent share is currently owned by Shirley Cunningham Jr. and William Gallion, two disbarred Lexington attorneys. Last year, Crittenden presided over a civil trial in which the lawyers were found guilty of misappropriating $42 million of a $200 million class-action settlement reached on behalf of their clients with the manufacturer of the diet-drug combination phen-fen. After the judgment, Crittenden ordered that the lawyers' assets be put in receivership.

On Nov. 5, a sealed-bid auction for the 20 percent share failed to receive any qualified bid, according to previous statements made by von Saucken. Stonestreet had the right to refuse any of the bids under the auction rules.

A decision as to whether Curlin will run again in 2009 or be retired to stud will be significantly affected by the resolution of the 20 percent share. Jackson would likely be incapable of standing the horse at stud if the ownership issue is not resolved.

Richard Getty, an attorney for Stonestreet, said on Friday that he expected to represent Jackson on Monday, but he declined to comment further.