03/26/2013 5:21PM

Sunset Stables brings mismanagement charges against Vinery New York

Barbara D. Livingston
Leading New York freshman sire of 2012 Frost Giant is the subject of mismanagement charges brought by Sunset Stables against Vinery New York, which formerly stood the stallion.

Sunset Stables filed a claim of mismanagement against Vinery New York LLC on Tuesday alleging that the stud farm failed in its responsibilities to properly manage its promising young stallion Frost Giant in 2011 and 2012.

The complaint alleges that Vinery diverted potential breeders to other stallions at its Vinery at Sugar Maple farm in Poughquag, N.Y. Sunset Stables, which owns Frost Giant, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

“These actions and failures significantly affected the marketing of breeding nominations, the marketability of Frost Giant’s breeding nominations, and the number of mares bred and the number of foals produced, all of which negatively affected the income the owner could derive from Frost Giant,” states the complaint, filed in the New York State Supreme Court of Dutchess County.

Sunset Stables also alleges that when it decided to terminate its management agreement with Vinery and then paid its maintenance fees, Vinery “orchestrated a deliberately deceptive and fraudulent ruse.” According to Sunset Stables’ complaint, when a representative from the owners arrived to move Frost Giant from Vinery, another horse had been placed in the stallion’s stall wearing his halter. That horse was then mistakenly moved by the representative.

“When the ruse was discovered, Sunset Stables attempted to return the horse, but Vinery refused to accept it, and instead claimed publicly that Sunset Stables had ‘stolen’ a Vinery horse. These actions endangered the health and well being of Frost Giant, and were deliberately designed to illegally and improperly extract additional money from Sunset Stables,” the complaint states.

Tom Ludt, president of Vinery, Ltd., defended the character of Vinery New York employees and said the farm plans to defend itself against the allegations. 

"It's very unfortunate that [Sunset Stables principal Andrew Cohen] has chosen to attack the character and horsemanship of the employees at Vinery New York in an attempt to void his contractual agreements," Ludt said. "This lawsuit is the latest attempt by Mr. Cohen to try to prevent his obligations being satisfied. Vinery New York plans to vigorously defend itself and is very confident that we will prevail in this litigation."

Cohen eventually transferred Frost Giant to Keane Stud in Armenia, N.Y. He stands for an advertised fee of $7,500 in 2013.

The 10-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway, a Grade 1 winner on the racetrack, set an earnings record for a New York freshman sire in 2012, when his progeny earned $840,633. That was good enough for sixth on the North American freshman sire list.