NEW YORK (CN) – A horse trainer says the U.S. Trotting Association and Ontario Racing Commission barred him from racing in the United States or the Canadian province because, in what he calls “a classic case of guilt by association,” his brother is on trial for securities fraud.
Jeffrey Brooks operates Bulletproof Enterprises, which his federal complaint describes as “one of the largest and most successful harness racing” stables in North America.
Brooks says his stable’s horses won about $12 million in 2009, more than triple the amount of its closest competitor and more than twice the previous record.
Brooks says the Ontario Racing Commission revoked his racing privileges on Jan. 26 this year, without notice and without giving him the opportunity to be heard. The Commission ordered tracks in the province to freeze and withhold all purses owed to Brooks and his stable, he says.
“In a classic case of guilt by association, virtually the entire rationale contained in Ontario’s suspension order was the conduct of Jeffrey’s brother, and former licensee, David Brooks, who is presently on trial for securities fraud and related counts in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York,” the lawsuit states.
Brooks says the United States Trotting Association adopted Ontario’s suspension order wholesale, barring the stable from racing or selling its horses anywhere in the United States.
Bulletproof Enterprises continues to maintain its facilities and care for the horses without any income, putting the stable’s “very existence at significant risk,” Brooks says.
Brooks says he tried to enter horses at Yonkers Raceway and a harness racing facility on Feb. 3, but trainers at both tracks stopped him from entering the races.
He claims that he and the stable “never received any notice whatsoever of having been placed on ‘Not Able to Participate’ status, and certainly have not been afforded any opportunity whatsoever to be heard.”
And he says he filed an appeal, but has “no right to a hearing, which is held only at the discretion of the Board.”
Brooks and Bulletproof sued the United States Trotting Association and its Executive Vice-President Michael Tanner, along with New York State Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John Sabini and members Daniel Hogan and John Simoni.
The Ontario Racing Commission is not named as a defendant.
Brooks and Bulletproof seek $108 million in damages, alleging tortious interference and due process violations.
They are represented by Andrew Goodman with Garvey Schubert Barer.