06/04/2006 11:00PM

Kentucky upholds claim


The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority voted unanimously Monday to accept the recommendation of a hearing officer to reverse a ruling that nullified a 2005 claim by owner Ken Ramsey.

The vote by the authority will require Ramsey to pay horse owner Mike Rutherford of Texas $40,000 for the June 22, 2005, claim of the horse Ima Hogg out of a race at Churchill Downs. Stewards voided the claim on June 30, 2005, after it was discovered that Ramsey had claimed the horse in his name only, rather than the name of himself and his wife, Sarah. The couple race their horses exclusively under the name of a partnership bearing both their names.

Rutherford appealed the decision, and on May 10 of this year, a hearing court officer recommended that the claim be considered valid, in part because of the familiarity of racing officials with the Ramsey stable's claiming practices. Ramsey typically claims dozens of horses during a meet.

"We're very pleased with the authority's decision," said Mike Royse, an attorney for Rutherford, after the meeting. "We think the authority took the appropriate action."

Ramsey, who declined to participate in the hearing or be represented by legal counsel during the process, said on Monday during a telephone interview that he would appeal the decision in court.

"The rules clearly state that one member of a partnership cannot claim a horse from the partnership's account," Ramsey said. "I can't see why the hearing officer or the authority could rule the way they did. I guess I'll take it to court and see who's responsible for it."

Also at the meeting, the authority adopted modifications to its rules governing advertising on jockeys' clothing. The current rules require all advertisements to be approved by the owner of the horse ridden by the jockey, with an exemption for charitable organizations. The modification will provide exemptions only for two logos used by the Jockeys' Guild, a national organization representing riders.

The authority began drafting the regulations after several jockeys wore ads for jockeymedia.com, a for-profit company affiliated with the guild, during the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby cards this year at Churchill Downs. The authority had initially allowed the ads to be worn under the exemption but promised to revisit the issue after the Derby had been run.