News and STORIES

Hollendorfer in Legal Battle with Del Mar

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Friday July 19, 2019

Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and the California Thoroughbred Trainers filed a civil complaint on Monday. The California Thoroughbred Trainers are a state-authorized organization representing conditioners interests with racing entities.

The complaint that was filed in San Diego is against the Del Mar Turf Club. Hollendorfer and the plaintiffs are trying to get the trainer permission to continue business at the track during this summer. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club was the target of Hollendorfer’s legal team after they informed him and his attorney, Drew Couto, that he could no longer train and race at the track.

The complaint was the first step in the legal battle; the court now has set a hearing date, and it will dictate whether Hollendorfer will be able to take part in the Del Mar meet on Sept. 3. It depends on how quickly the process moves through the court.
Del Mar did not immediately announce the policy against Hollendorfer.

Last month, the trainer was banned from Santa Anita Park after four of his horses died as a result of injuries on the track. Those all took place during the racing season that started on Dec. 26.

Hollendorfer and his legal team are arguing that he has no rulings against him, and he has never been suspended by a track. He also claims that he followed The Stronach Group, a track operator, and the new safety measures that they put out. These new safety measures started after the winter and spring racing in Southern California.

The California Thoroughbred Trainers are being represented by attorney Darrell Vienna, who is also a former trainer.

In the complaint is an agreement between the California Thoroughbred Trainers and Del Mar. It states that any trainers who are part of the group cannot be “excluded or eliminated from participation on an arbitrary or capricious basis.”

Because of this agreement, Hollendorfer sought a temporary restraining order against Del Mar that would allow him to continue training there.

Temporary Restraining Order

On Thursday, a San Diego County Superior Court Judge delayed Hollendorfer’s request for a restraining order. He said that the court needed more time to review the documents involved in the process.

Judge Ronald F. Frazier set the preliminary injunction hearing at 11:30 am on the eighth day of Del Mar’s summer meet.

Judge Frazier spoke about the decision.

“I have gone through the application. You have given the court a lot to look at in a short amount of time. From the court’s perspective, I’m reluctant to make a hasty decision.”

The hearing only took a few minutes, and Chris Jaczko was the attorney representing Del Mar.

“The judge didn’t make a decision. He just said he needed more time, and I think time is on our favor,” Hollendorfer commented after the hearing.

Support from Outside

Other groups outside of California have been getting involved in the matter. Various horsemen groups issued a statement on Hollendorfer.

“In a government-sanctioned and regulated industry, it is required. Every person in our industry who holds a license to participate is given a right to due process when their livelihood is threatened. We are an industry that operates according to rules and regulations, standards are clear, violations have consequences, and we are transparent.

“The situation which occurred recently at Santa Anita from the Stronach Group regarding Jerry Hollendorfer has clearly sidestepped those rights and exemplifies our concerns. By this action, every licensee in racing is on notice of potential arbitrary career-ending actions by race tracks without rules, standards, the right to due process, fundamental fairness and accountability.”

These statements were made by the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.