08/02/2012 3:38PM

Retirement of Inherit the Gold in dispute

Barbara D. Livingston
Inherit the Gold's owners are disputing the horse's retirement from racing in a New York court.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – A dispute between the owners of Inherit the Gold could alter plans for the recently retired New York-bred gelding, including a possible return to the races.

Mary Murray, who races under the name Glas-Tipp Stables and who owns 50 percent of Inherit the Gold, said she was never informed by trainer Jim Hooper that Inherit the Gold was going to be retired. She said she heard about it through the media.

Further, Murray has a lawsuit against Jim Hooper and his wife Susanne – who is listed as 37.5 percent owner of Inherit the Gold – in which she alleges fraud and a breach of fiduciary duties. The case is in Supreme Court in Saratoga County, N.Y.

Murray, who also is co-breeder of the horse along with Susanne Hooper, claims she has not been fully paid all the monies due her for what Inherit the Gold has earned on the track. Inherit the Gold, who won the Grade 3 Excelsior in 2011, has won $478,985 in his career, including $111,300 in 2012.

Jim Hooper said that Murray has been paid in full.

“We’ve asked for a statement as for how much she thinks we owe her for over four months,” Hooper said.

Murray said that she and owner Alan Zura, who races under the name Ochre House Stable, “have been completely shut out” of discussions involving plans for Inherit the Gold. Murray said she wasn’t notified when Hooper moved the horse from Saratoga to his farm, Haven Oaks Farm, in Fort Edward, in June.

Last week, Hooper told Daily Racing Form that Inherit the Gold was being retired, citing various issues with three of his ankles. Hooper said he had reports from three veterinarians recommending that Inherit the Gold be retired.

However, Murray said she has not seen any of those reports and wants the horse examined by an independent veterinarian at Cornell or Tufts University. Murray’s attorney, John Leggett, said the only reports he and Murray have received are from Dr. Bill Barnes of Saratoga Equine, who said Inherit the Gold would need chips removed from an ankle before he could compete as a racehorse or show horse.

Murray said it would not be her intent to race Inherit the Gold again, if it would endanger the horse’s well-being.

“My total interests are what’s best for the horse,” Murray said. “He gave me some of the thrills of a lifetime.”

She was emphatic when she said “I do not want him retired at Haven Oaks.”

Hooper said Murray “has no business being around racehorses. She doesn’t know when to stop on them.”