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Ownership switch for Classic winner Curlin
Associated Press
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Published: 11/8/2007 12:28 AM

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The ownership of Breeders' Cup Classic winner Curlin underwent another shakeup: One prominent owner has sold his stake in the 3-year-old colt to two of his partners.

Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables and investment banker George Bolton bought out the interest held by Satish Sanan's Padua Stables in a private sale, with Stonestreet lawyer Richard Getty confirming the deal but declining to divulge details.

Earlier this year, the three owners purchased an 80 percent interest in Curlin for a reported $3.5 million from original owner Midnight Cry Stables, which bought the colt for $57,000 in 2005.

Two of Midnight Cry's owners, Shirley Cunningham Jr. and William Gallion, are in jail awaiting trial on federal wire fraud charges related to a $200 million legal settlement over the diet drug fen-phen. Last week, a state judge ordered Cunningham's and Gallion's assets, including Midnight Cry Stables, turned over to the 418 plaintiffs to satisfy a $42 million judgment stemming from a lawsuit against Gallion and Cunningham over their handling of the settlement.

Jackson and Bolton have an 80 percent interest in Curlin, Getty said.

While Curlin's racing future has yet to be determined, the breeding rights for the likely Horse of the Year are estimated between $20 million and $30 million.

Winner of the Preakness and the Jockey Club Gold Cup before his Classic win Oct. 27, Curlin could be sold at auction or privately. The colt, who also finished third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes, is stabled at Churchill Downs.

"Mr. Bolton and Mr. Jackson are looking at all possibilities for the future of the horse," Getty said.

A lawyer for Padua Stables said last week that Sanan favored selling Curlin at public auction.

The sale Tuesday came the same day that the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Cunningham, Gallion, and a third attorney, Melbounre Mills Jr., must turn their financial information over to a federal judge to have a chance at getting bail.

"The district court has properly ordered the defendants detained until he can determine if there are appropriate conditions of release," the three-judge panel wrote.

Bertelsman jailed the three lawyers in August after granting their request to delay their trial until January on charges they stole millions from clients. But Bertelsman told the lawyers they must turn over financial information so it could be determined if there were any hidden funds the men could use to flee.

Cunningham, 52, Gallion, 56, and Mills, 72, are in the Boone County Jail in northern Kentucky. They have refused to turn over the financial information, saying Bertelsman didn't have the authority to ask for it and that handing over the information could violate their rights against self-incrimination. Prosecutors argued that the men should have to turn over the information if they want bail.

The appellate panel said Cunningham, Gallion and Mills could gain their freedom by giving Bertelsman copies of statements showing their assets and cash flow from January 2001 through the present.