Those legal problems nagging Curlins part-owners Bill Gallion and Shirley Cunningham, Jr., reported here two weeks ago, are now a bigger issue than before. The 400 clients, who are suing Gallion and Cunningham for defrauding them of $46.6 million in the settlement of a diet drug (fen phen) case, are claiming that Curlin was purchased with their money and therefore they, not Gallion, Cunningham and the other people listed as Curlins owners, are, in fact, the Preakness winners owners.

A federal grand jury has begun to investigate if there was criminal wrongdoing arising from the settlement, and if a court so deems that there was, Angela M. Ford, an attorney who represents the clients, believes that the horse belongs to them. She claims that Gallion and Cunningham originally purchased the horse with money taken from her clients illegally. Ford claims that Gallion and Cunningham had no right to sell 80 percent of the horse for $3.5 million, as they did in February, to Jess Jackson, Satish Sanan and George Bolton, who are now listed as Curlins part owners along with Gallion and Cunningham.

News such as this, made public in today's New York Times by writer Joe Drape, "A Great Horse, but Who Takes the Winnings?", makes one wonder if horse racing would receive any coverage at all, if it werent for scandals, traumas, and disputes. There has always been a intoxicating scent of larceny lingering around the racetrack, but this horse racing development simply stinks.