11/22/2010 1:45PM

Owner Gill and trainer Adamo file lawsuit over ejection from Penn National

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Michael Gill, a former leading owner, and a trainer he employed, Anthony Adamo, have filed a lawsuit accusing officials of Pennsylvania's racing commission of deprivation of their due process rights and other abuses related to their ejections from Penn National Race Course early this year.

The suit, filed on Nov. 11 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, seeks monetary damages for the alleged abuses and the damage they have caused to the reputations of both Gill and Adamo, along with attorney’s costs.

The lawsuit alleges that Gill and Adamo were ejected from Penn National by officials of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission without cause, and it further alleges that racing officials ignored regulations in the state that would have punished jockeys and trainers who refused to ride or start horses in races in which Gill horses were entered.

Gill and Adamo were ordered off the grounds of Penn National on Feb. 2, shortly after many jockeys at the track refused to ride Gill’s horses, citing concerns about the animals’ soundness. The jockeys were later joined by some trainers who said they would not allow their horses to run in races in which Gill had entered horses.

The suit, filed by Alan Pincus, a racing attorney, contends that the complaints about the soundness of Gill’s horses were unfounded and were part of a larger scheme to force Gill from the track. At the time that Gill was ejected, he was the leading owner at Penn National, where purses are heavily subsidized by slot machines.

The suit notes that Pennsylvania racing rules prohibit jockeys from refusing to ride and further prohibits trainers from scratching horses without just cause. It says that the commission took no action to enforce those rules when the boycotts arose.

Gill dispersed all of his racing stock after he was ejected from Penn National, the suit states. Adamo continues to train, but with a small racing stable, according to the suit.

Pennsylvania’s district attorney has issued subpoenas to members of the Pennsylvania racing community since the ejections, according to Pennsylvania racing officials.