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© Scott Martinez
SACRAMENTO, CA—NOVEMBER 17, 2020—Darrel J. Vienna, a Bonsall, California based attorney, filed a formal complaint with the California Horse Board late Tuesday on behalf of Pat Guthrie, co-owner of multiple grade 1 winner Danjer.
According to the complaint, Guthrie is seeking the intervention of the California Horse Racing Board as a result of Danjer being denied entry into the 2020 Champion of Champions by Los Alamitos Race Course owner Edward Allred. The complaint alleges "Allred has violated and/or abrogated multiple rules by engaging in misconduct or improper activities the effect of which is to restrict competition in races in which Allred has a competitive interest."
The complaint states Danjer earned an invite to the $600,000 Champion of Champions via his win in the Bank of America Challenge Championship(G1) run at The Downs at Albuquerque October 24th. As per the published conditions, this race was among those races which qualify the winner to compete in the 2020 Champion of Champions.
On November 13, Guthrie informed the Los Alamitos Race Course Racing Secretary, on behalf of the owners of Danjer, that they intended to participate in the Champion of Champions. Billy G. Smith, another of Danjer’s co-owners, was informed by Allred that Danjer would not be allowed to participate in the Champion of Champions.
Subsequent to verbal communication, the owners of Danjer have made repeated inquiries into the status of Danjer in the Champion of Champions. They were recently advised that Allred’s decision was final and Danjer would not be allowed to compete in the Champion of Champions. According to the complaint, no reason was provided.
The Complaint also alleges that Allred has a conflict of interest with at least one other participant in the Champion of Champions. Among the horses who have qualified for a berth in the Champion of Champions is the horse, Chocolatito, a horse wholly owned by Edward C> Allred.
According to Vienna Allred seeks an unfair advantage by depriving Danjer of the earned opportunity to compete against his horse in the Champion of Champions. By denying Danjer the invitation to the Champion of Champions, which he earned based upon his performance in a qualifying race, Allred is interfering with another competing participant in a race.
The complaint goes on to state the exclusion of horses from participating in important races in which Allred’s horses are competing is a pattern of behavior developed by the track owner.
Over recent years, Allred has interfered with participating competitors in major race conducted at Los Alamitos Race Course. Last year, he excluded Danjer from participating in the Super Derby and this year he has excluded Danjer’s participation in the Champion of Champions.
Last year, Allred’s decision to deny Danjer from participating in the Super Derby was based upon an allegation that Danjer failed a pre-race hair test. Despite requests by Danjer’s connections for a copy of that alleged failed test result, such evidence was never provided. At that time Danjer’s connections had a hair sample collected from Danjer tested which yielded negative results.
In addition to the qualifying requirements, participation in the Champion of Champions requires the participating horses to be on the grounds of Los Alamitos Race Course three weeks prior to the race.
Unless Danjer is admitted to the grounds by November 21, 2020, Mr. Guthrie will not be allowed by Allred to comply with that requirement.
The complaint asks the Board to order the admission of Danjer to the Los Alamitos stable area or to order Los Alamitos to waive that requirement or to order the postponement of the running of the Champion of Champions until such time as this complaint is resolved.
CLICK HERE to read the complaint in its entirety.