Updated on 09/15/2011 12:54PM

Paulson feud scatters horses

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - A feud between the late Allen Paulson's son Michael and widow, Madeleine, has divided his bloodstock holdings and could put more of his horses in the public market.

On Wednesday, Michael Paulson fired trainer Simon Bray and sent Grade 1 winners Astra and Startac to trainer Laura de Seroux. On Thursday, he ordered much of the family's breeding stock, including successful 19-year-old sire Theatrical, relocated from Diamond A Farms in Versailles, Ky., to Hill 'n' Dale Farm in Lexington. Diamond A is part of the former Brookside Farms, which Allen Paulson developed in the mid-1980's and was sold to Diamond A owner Gerald A. Ford last year.

The Allen Paulson Living Trust, headed by Michael Paulson and co-trustee Edward White, a Los Angeles accountant, controls the horses now at Hill 'n' Dale, including Theatrical, stallion Jade Hunter, and 16 mares and foals. Madeleine Paulson retains another group of mares, who remain at Diamond A.

On Friday, Michael Paulson said that the breeding stock controlled by the trust, including Theatrical, could be sold, though he emphasized that plans are still in development.

"Yes, that's possible," he said. "We are still formulating final plans for the upcoming breeding season."

De Seroux, the new trainer of Astra and Startac, also trains Until Sundown, winner of the Affirmed Handicap. She is the wife of bloodstock agent and Paulson representative Emmanuel de Seroux.

Michael Paulson said five more horses stabled at Santa Anita Park could go to other trainers. "We're assessing the horses' strengths and which trainers would best serve them," he said.

Paulson declined to detail specific plans for any of the trust-controlled horses but said, "We're fulfilling my father's wishes, and that's our strategy. We're trying to do what's right for the horses and for the trust."

"The ongoing business has to be run as more of a business rather than just as a racing stable," said Emmanuel de Seroux of the trust's overall focus.

Madeleine Paulson, who is not Michael's mother, owns about 40 horses, some of them trained by Bray. She has 18 mares at Diamond A, including the Paulsons' homebred champion Escena. She said Friday that she intends to remain active in racing and breeding.

Ted Carr, who has managed Paulson bloodstock in Kentucky since 1984, said Michael Paulson notified him by fax Thursday that the trust was moving its stock, and three hours later the horses were shipped to Hill 'n' Dale. Prominent mares sent to Hill 'n' Dale include 21-year-old Estrapade, the 1986 champion turf mare; 8-year-old Charmer's Gift, a half-sister to Seattle Slew; 13-year-old Grade 1 winner Fowda; 14-year-old Garimpeiro, dam of Grade 1 winner Geri; and 17-year-old Sky Ninski, dam of graded-placed Vinista.

Carr, who remains manager of Diamond A for Ford, said the farm probably would accept outside clients to replace the trust's horses.

"Once I saw that they fired Simon Bray, I kind of thought this would happen," said Carr. "They're at war. I guess they're getting rid of everybody who had anything to do with Madeleine. But we still have 18 of Madeleine's horses. She's a survivor, she's sharp, and she'll roll on.

"We knew those horses all their lives," he added. "I hated to see Theatrical move at his age. He's a hot-blooded animal, and we've known him all his life. He needs to be managed all the time; he's not like every other stallion."

Did Simon Bray deserve to be fired? What do you think of all of the moves Michael Paulson has made recently with his late father's racing and breeding stock?

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