Thoroughbred trainer and bloodstock adviser Ken McPeek has sued the two jailed attorneys who own 20 percent of Horse of the Year candidate Curlin, alleging that the pair did not pay him a 5 percent commission on the horse's sale as a 3-year-old.
In the lawsuit, which was filed on Nov. 9 in Jefferson County Circuit Court in Kentucky, McPeek alleges that William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr., the principals in Midnight Cry Stable, agreed to pay him 5 percent of any sale of a horse he picked out for the pair at auction. McPeek bought Curlin for Gallion and Cunningham as a yearling for $57,000, and Gallion and Cunningham sold 80 percent of the horse earlier this year for $3.5 million, making McPeek's commission on the sale $175,000.
McPeek also alleges in the lawsuit that he is owed two lifetime breeding rights to Curlin if and when the horse is retired to stud.
Gallion and Cunningham were jailed earlier this year after being indicted for misappropriating a large share of a $200 million settlement in a phen-fen diet drug case. The two await criminal trial in January.
Early this month, a judge in a civil lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs in the phen-fen case ruled that the plaintiffs were entitled to earnings from Midnight Cry Stable's 20 percent share of Curlin.
Don Cox, McPeek's lawyer, said that McPeek had filed the lawsuit in part as a form of protection because of the civil-court judge's ruling. He also acknowledged that McPeek did not have a written contract with Gallion and Cunningham, but called the 5 percent commission "standard practice."
Andre Regard, a lawyer for Gallion and Cunningham, did not return a phone call Tuesday.