Thursday, August 26, 2004

Jockeys want fees paid for ad patch lawsuits

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Jockeys who successfully sued for the right to wear advertising patches on their outfits during the Kentucky Derby now want the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to pay their attorneys' fees.

In two separate filings in U.S. District Court in Louisville, seven jockeys have asked a judge to order the authority and the Kentucky Racing Commission - the present and past regulators of horse racing in Kentucky - to pay more than $93,000 in legal fees they say were accrued during their cases.

The racing commission was abolished and replaced with the racing authority after Gov. Ernie Fletcher took office in January.

Jockeys Robby Albarado, Brian Peck and Shane Sellers sued April 16, seeking the right to wear a union patch on their outfits. They are asking District Judge John Heyburn II to award attorneys' fees of $68,205.62.

Jockeys Jerry Bailey, John Velazquez, Jose Santos, Alex Solis and Sellers filed a similar suit a week later asking to wear advertising patches. They want $25,102.50 in attorneys' fees. Both filings were made Friday.

Mark York, a spokesman for the state Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, which oversees the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, said the authority is aware of the requests.

"We will be filing a response to the motion," York said Wednesday. "We are concerned about the fees that are being requested."

He declined to comment further.

Heyburn ruled two days before the May 1 Kentucky Derby that jockeys could wear the patches during the race, citing the jockeys' First Amendment right to free speech. The state racing authority said it would apply Heyburn's rulings to all races in Kentucky and allow jockeys to wear the patches in any race.

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