Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Jockey Day wins race suit

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — A 14-month-old federal court case involving Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day and three racing stewards has been settled in Mr. Day's favor.

        James T. Hines's suit involved an incident during the ninth race at the Turfway Breeders' Cup Stakes on Sept. 16, 2000. Mr. Day was aboard the filly Spain in a top-of-the-stretch duel with Mr. Hines's filly, Ruby Surprise.

        According to court documents, the suit accused Mr. Day of “negligently, recklessly and/or intentionally” striking Ruby Surprise with his whip, causing the Utica, Ky., owner's horse to slow down and give Spain the victory. The race stewards were sued for what was said the be their failure to provide a hearing of an appeal by Robert Holthus, Ruby Surprise's trainer.

        Mr. Day, Chief Steward Jack Middleton of Louisville, steward Brooks A. Becraft III of Dry Ridge and steward Ron Herbstreit of Hebron were sued by Mr. Hines on Nov. 2, 2000, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Covington.

        Mr. Hines originally asked for compensatory and punitive damages representing the purse in the race and the unrealized present and future value of Ruby Surprise.

        In a copy of a settlement dated Nov. 1 and obtained Monday by the Enquirer, Mr. Hines agreed to pay a total of $1,532.90 to Messrs. Day, Middleton, Becraft and Herbstreit.

        According to the settlement, Mr. Hines admitted “it cannot be determined conclusively whether Defendant Day struck Ruby Surprise with his whip during the race in issue in the Court suit.”

        The settlement has been signed by all parties. The money covers court costs and attorney fees.

        “It's a slam-dunk victory for Pat Day and the stewards,” said Mark Guilfoyle, the Covington attorney who represented Messrs. Day, Becraft and Herbstreit.

        The state Attorney General's Office represented Mr. Middleton because he is a state employee.

        Neither Mr. Hines nor any of the defendants could be reached for comment Monday.


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