Last September, Churchill Downs, Inc. banned trainer Karl Broberg from the entry box at its parent company’s racetracks after an incident involving a voided claim led to what CDI alleged as neglect.
When racing began at the CDI-owned Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, La., however, the Louisiana Racing Commission insisted that only state racing stewards could legally exclude Broberg from racing. Commission chair Benjamin Guilbeau argued that since the Kentucky commission did not take action against Broberg, the trainer’s license remained in good standing.
Broberg wound up starting 40 horses at last year’s Fair Grounds race meet, per Equibase, running out earnings of $152,900. For comparison, the trainer started 76 horses at the 2020-2021 race meet.
A year later, reports nola.com, District Judge Robin Giarrusso has ruled that CDI does have the right to exclude Broberg from its properties, including Fair Grounds. In addition, the judge has sent the alleged neglect case to the stewards so that Broberg can argue it in front of them. Louisiana Racing Commission executive director Charles Gardiner told nola.com that a closed hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 20, at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La.
Racing at Fair Grounds is scheduled to begin on Nov. 18, 2022.
The case stems from the post-race treatment of a horse Broberg started at Churchill Downs on Sept. 18, 2021.
According to a CDI statement at that time: On the night of Sept. 18, Karl Broberg’s Rockandahardplace finished sixth of seven in a $10,000 claiming race at Churchill Downs. A claim for the 5-year-old gelding was voided after the race by rule when the horse was declared lame by a KHRC veterinarian at the test barn. The horse was returned to his stall by a paid hotwalker, but a subsequent investigation revealed that there was no responsible representative of the trainer on-site to make veterinary decisions or to take appropriate steps to protect the welfare of the injured horse.
For his part, Broberg disputes Churchill’s assertion that he did not have proper care available to the horse.
“I am obviously appalled by the insinuation through the CD press release that Rockandahardplace was improperly cared for,” Broberg told Paulick Report publisher Ray Paulick via email in 2021. “Rockandahardplace was evaluated and treated with bute and banamine following the race by a licensed veterinarian at our request. He was correctly diagnosed as having a medial sesamoid fracture which x-rays confirmed the following morning. He was sent to a farm the following morning to recover and we can happily report aside from the injury he is in perfect health.”
Rockandahardplace has not started since the night of his injury.
Broberg has been ranked first or second in North American trainer standings by wins each year since 2013, and has amassed 4,119 victories from 17,091 starts since he began training in 2009. His business model depends on keeping strings of horses in multiple states and relies heavily on claiming races. He is currently ranked ninth in North America by earnings and second by wins.
Broberg has also been a controversial figure at times, having been excluded from Remington Park in 2013 after The Jockey Club suspended privileges from him for having four medication violations in close succession. Broberg fought the Remington ban in court and was ultimately allowed back, but saw his stalls revoked again in 2020. More recently, the trainer spoke out about testing issues in Louisiana, where the state’s laboratory detected found three drugs, including a Class 1 substance, in a post-race sample from one of his horses. Split sample testing was negative for all three substances.