BONSALL, CA, October 5. 2020
In a precedent-setting victory for horse owners’ rights the Court of Appeal today overturned the California Horse Racing Board’s 2017 award of $100,000 in double jockey fee to Joel Rosario. The Court held that, under the conditions presented by this case, California statute prohibited the stewards from awarding a double jockey fee to Rosario who was removed from the mount on Charles Fipke’s mare, Forever Unbridled, prior to the draw of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
The CHRB had awarded a double jockey fee to Joel Rosario after owner Fipke decided to remove Rosario from the mount and replace him with Jockey John Velazquez. Forever Unbridled subsequently won the 2017 race. The appellate court ruled that Mr. Fipke engaged in conduct permitted by CHRB rules and that under the facts of this case, an award of a double jockey fee was precluded by California statute.
Fipke was represented by attorneys Darrell Vienna and Carlo Fisco. “The law appeared to be clearly and straightforwardly in Mr. Fipke’s favor. Therefore Mr. Fipke must be commended for staying the course in seeking a fair and just decision. Owners now have a level of protection going forward and the industry also stands to gain from the clarification supplied by the appellate court,” said attorney Carlo Fisco, who successfully argued the case in front of the justices.
Attorney Darrell Vienna added: “This decision which defines and clarifies the rights of horse owners has been a long time coming. Thanks to the patience and fortitude of Mr. Fipke in pursuing this matter, the rights of horse owners have been further defined and clarified.
Fipke stated: “I pursued this case because I believe that horse owners have the right to make decisions regarding their horses and ensure that I and other horse owners are neither denied that right nor subjected to arbitrary and unfair sanctions for exercising that right.”
The CHRB was also ordered to pay appellant’s costs as a result of the decision.