Horse Racing Lawsuit Headed to Mediation
A lawsuit stemming from the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, filed by Willis Horton (owner of the winning horse at the 2014 Travers, Will Take Charge) and jockey Luis Saez against trainer Eric Guillot, is likely heading into Mediation.
The lawsuit stems from comments Guillot, who trained the second-place finisher Moreno, made after the race in which he alleged that Saez had an illegal electronic device on his person while riding Will Take Charge. The comments prompted an investigation by the New York Gaming Commission, which found no evidence of any sort of device or other improper behavior, and Will Take Charge has retained its crown.
Horton and Saez claim the comments were libelous, and filed suit. Guillot has filed motions for dismissal twice, but the court has denied both and allowed the suit to go forward. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, which has implemented a trial program using mediation for civil lawsuits. According to attorneys for both sides of the suit, it is very likely that they will agree to move the dispute into mediation as per the court’s wishes.
The Travers Stakes is the oldest thoroughbred race in the United States, dating back to 1864, and is held annually in Saratoga, New York. Under New York law, because Guillot’s comments were made to newspapers and other media, they constitute libel if they are found to be defaming by the court.