Appearance of Impropriety Led to Medina Spirit Recusal

Clay Patrick recused himself as hearing officer in the Medina Spirit disqualification scenario in purchase to stay away from an physical appearance of impropriety that he stated was precipitated when attorney Clark Brewster obtained a yearling partly owned by Patrick and his farm at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Patrick presided more than a 6-day hearing in which Brewster and attorney Craig Robertson have been tasked, on behalf of operator Amr Zedan and trainer Bob Baffert, to persuade Patrick to recommend overturning the disqualification by stewards of Medina Spirit’s acquire of the 2021 Kentucky Derby Offered by Woodford Reserve (G1).

The Kentucky Horse Racing Fee would have been cost-free to take or reject any determination Patrick designed. With Patrick’s recusal, the circumstance will have to be retried or resolved on the present report by a new listening to officer in the absence of an unforeseen transform of situations.

King: Auction Buy Prospects to Shake-up in Medina Spirit Appeal

According to hearing transcripts BloodHorse acquired less than an open up information ask for, 15 days immediately after the disqualification listening to concluded, Brewster bought Hip 409 for $190,000 on Wednesday, Sept. 14, with no examining on its possession. In all, Brewster claimed by yourself or in partnership he acquired five yearlings at Keeneland throughout the first a few days and expended about a million pounds.

Indication up for

On Thursday, Sept. 15, one day immediately after Brewster’s obtain, Patrick emailed lawyers in the scenario, producing “an difficulty has arisen which I need to have to address with all of you. … Can you all be available for this as early as Friday late afternoon, at 4 pm?”

Conversations of the problem happened in a hearing Sept. 16 and 20. Transcripts point out Brewster knew before the sale that Patrick was in the Thoroughbred small business along with Patrick’s very good buddy, KHRC Commissioner Michael Dudgeon.

“When we very first achieved, you came proper forward and stated a single of the commissioners is my quite near mate,” Brewster explained to Patrick. “We went into this transaction know(ing) that you were officed at the Community Security Cabinet, that you have an affiliation in the business, that you experienced a good friend that was on the racing fee, that you’ve got been concerned in the field. We all realized that … I understood that you were affiliated with Ramspring Farms.”

Ramspring Farm’s site says it “is a full Thoroughbred breeding, foaling, boarding, and product sales preparation facility” which is been in enterprise for a lot more than 40 many years.

Brewster explained to Patrick for the duration of the Sept. 16 discussion that he recognized on Sept. 14, soon after he designed the invest in, that Patrick owned section of the yearling. Patrick verified he owned just one-third of the yearling personally, Ramspring Farm owned 1-3rd, and Dudgeon owned one particular-3rd.

“I thought—when I discovered this out on Wednesday, I think—Wednesday, I thought about sending an electronic mail all-around,” Brewster claimed, “but then I realized it is so—it’s only visual appeal only from the standpoint of somebody that would not recognize the activity or isn’t going to have an understanding of the context of the auction. But—so I just assumed, properly, permit me feel it via. And then I was pleased to get your take note yesterday to say you needed a listening to about this…”

Brewster advised Patrick he’s been in the horse company for 28 a long time, that he owns 130 horses, and that he routinely purchases at Keeneland. He said no one particular in the business enterprise who is a severe consumer cares about ownership of horses supplied at auction. In its place, he stated, purchasers concentration on conformation, breeding, and vetting.

Image: Anne M. Eberhardt

A horse in the gross sales ring at the Keeneland September Sale

The lawyer stated his crew of advisers, coach Steve Asmussen and Susan Montanye, “grades them and gets them vetted and that kind of issue” in advance of generating a shortlist of probable purchases. He explained he dependent his decisions on their tips, which do not involve who owns the offerings. “I most likely bid on 50 horses there,” Brewster claimed.

And, explained Brewster, “the catalog, Keeneland catalog, does not reflect the proprietor except if it suggests ‘Agent for’ and it lists the owner. In this instance with (Hip) 409, there is no owner mentioned.”

Just after outlining his obtain of Patrick’s horse, which Brewster summed up as “a coincidence,” Brewster urged Patrick to continue being on the circumstance, arguing that he could keep on being reasonable and unbiased.

KHRC legal professional Jennifer Wolsing, who asked for time Sept. 16 to take into account the challenges, asked Patrick on Sept. 20 to recuse. Just after telling Patrick she was not contending Brewster intentionally roiled the proceeding, Wolsing reported the lawyer ought to have been more very careful.

“Nevertheless, this is a problem where Mr. Brewster either understood or should’ve known about the prospective for a money conflict of desire,” Wolsing stated. “We are aware that Mr. Patrick is expert and included in the horse industry we know that you’re affiliated with Ramspring Farms, which at times sells horses. I imagine that it would have been incumbent on Mr. Brewster to have checked out the possession before he put in $190,000 that led to a conflict of fascination which is below currently.”

On equally days, Patrick claimed he could be honest but expressed issue from an aim viewpoint.

“I am cozy that I could access a selection and make a conclusion devoid of currently being affected by this,” Patrick explained through the to start with hearing, “but we have to see we have to reflect how that would appear with the community and the sector and take into consideration that simple fact as well.”

On the next listening to working day, just after Patrick informed the attorneys he was really torn on the subject, he again referred to public perception of the make any difference.

“I fully grasp totally Ms. Wolsing’s argument and wouldn’t count on any one not to convey that up. That is fully founded, I assume, because it truly is the overall look of an impropriety that we attempt extra than everything to protect against and preclude in these steps,” Patrick reported. “I unquestionably feel that I can continue on in this issue in an impartial way, but I am concerned about the visual appeal that it would give to the community and to the field, which undoubtedly isn’t going to have to have any extra bashing suitable now.”

A dialogue adopted whereby a official movement to recuse would be submitted and briefed. However, the adhering to working day Patrick slash to the chase in an email to counsel.

“Counsel, I really don’t want to drag this situation out any for a longer period. Therefore, this is to recommend that I am recusing as Listening to Officer in the above‐styled action, productive right away. An Get to this result will be issued later on currently,” he wrote.

In opinions all through the Sept. 16 listening to, possibly Brewster foreshadowed what was about to come about.

“Had I known it (Hip 409) was affiliated with you, just out of an abundance of caution, I would have passed on the colt,” Brewster instructed Patrick.

Correction: This tale has been up-to-date by getting rid of a element of Jennifer Wolsing’s estimate that referred to a listing of ownership of sale horses on The Jockey Club website as no these types of listing exists on the web site.