Kentucky Derby hopeful Curlin nibbles at the hand of hot walker Juan Gonzales as he gets a bath outside Barn 38 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Monday, April 30, 2007. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
By BRETT BARROUQUERE
Associated Press Writer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Breeders' Cup Classic winner Curlin has
more than 400 new owners.
A state judge has given the plaintiffs, in a lawsuit against
three lawyers, the right to claim part ownership of the 3-year-old
colt who has earned more than $5.1 million on the track.
Judge William Wehr said the plaintiffs can make the claim
through Midnight Cry Stables, the company used by attorneys Shirley
Cunningham Jr. and William Gallion to buy the horse for $57,000.
Cunningham and Gallion own a 20 percent stake in Curlin, who won
the Preakness Stakes in May and the Classic on Saturday for his
sixth victory in nine career races. Curlin was third in the
Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes.
Wehr's order, issued late Thursday, comes in a case against
Cunningham, Gallion and Lexington lawyer Melbourne Mills Jr. over
the handling of a $200 million settlement in litigation over the
diet drug fen-phen.
Wehr previously ruled that the attorneys bilked their clients of
funds from the settlement and owe at least $42 million. Cunningham,
Gallion and Mills are currently jailed in northern Kentucky
awaiting a federal trial on charges of wire fraud stemming from the
fen-phen settlement. They have pleaded not guilty.
The judge's three-page order allows the plaintiffs to claim
Midnight Cry Stables and its assets, along with other assets the
Cunningham, 52, and Gallion, 56, bought Curlin as a yearling.
They sold controlling interest in the horse in February for a
reported $3.5 million to a group composed of Jess Jackson, founder
of Kendall-Jackson wines; Satish Sanan's Padua Stables; and George
Bolton, an investment banker.
Gallion and Cunningham retained a minority interest in the horse
through Midnight Cry Stables.
After the Classic at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., Jackson
said no decision had been made whether Curlin would run next year
as a 4-year-old.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)