Capabilities

Equine Practice

Stites & Harbison Knows Equine Law

We are a leading law firm for sophisticated transactions, difficult litigation, and complex regulatory issues, and our equine work reflects this capability. With a dedicated roster of seasoned and committed equine lawyers, the Stites & Harbison equine team stands ready to meet any legal need of the horse industry.

Located in the heart of Bluegrass horse country, our Lexington, Kentucky, office is the headquarters of a comprehensive equine law practice. Members of our equine team include the former Chair of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission; a founder, member of the Board of Directors, and former president of the American College of Equine Attorneys; the current and a former chair of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Equine Law Section; and the counsel to the Hearing Committee of the United States Equestrian Federation.

The Stites equine team knows horses and horse people. We represent clients in all areas of the equine industry, with a client roster that includes some of the most high-profile equine figures in Kentucky, the United States, and the world.

Our clients breed, raise, race, train, sell, and show horses. They own and manage major breeding operations who stand stallions and breed mares. They organize and manage breeding and racing syndicates. They own and manage Thoroughbred racetracks and equine auction houses. They buy and sell horses for themselves and others, and they buy and sell horse farms.

In addition to direct participants, we advise those who support and provide services to the industry, including:

  • Equine Lenders
  • Horse farm real estate professionals
  • Equine accountants
  • Equine veterinarians
  • Equine transport companies and shipping consultants
  • Equine equipment manufacturers
  • Animal nutrition biotechnology companies
  • Equine auction companies
  • Equine insurers
  • Equine industry magazines or publications

We operate in the industry every day, helping participants grow their businesses.

The Experience of the Stites Equine Team Displays Our Capability

We regularly counsel clients in complex equine transactions, domestically and internationally, and represent equine clients in litigation in the courts of Kentucky and elsewhere, and represent clients before stewards, racing commissions, breed registries, show horse associations, and other administrative panels.

Our equine practice extends far outside Kentucky. We serve as United States Counsel to the European Breeders Fund. We regularly represent Kentucky interests overseas. We represent clients who import and export horses to all areas of the world and represent international interests in Kentucky with clients in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, South Africa and South America.

Stites & Harbison’s equine team has long represented prominent buyers, sellers, and syndicators of the world’s top Thoroughbreds. Over the last 20 years alone, the group’s transactions have an aggregate value of over $900 million. Since 2000, we have represented buyers and sellers in the purchase, sale and syndication of the winners of more than 20 Triple Crown® races, including AMERICAN PHAROAH, CALIFORNIA CHROME, CURLIN, RACHEL ALEXANDRA, MONARCHOS, FUSAICHI PEGASUS, AFLEET ALEX, BIG BROWN, and SMARTY JONES. In addition, we have represented buyers and sellers in the purchase, sale and syndication of the winners of 30 Breeders’ Cup World Championship races, the winners of more than 50 Eclipse Awards and of leading sires such as TAPIT.

We Deploy All Resources of the Firm to Support Our Equine Clients

In addition to advising on equine transactions and litigation, the Stites & Harbison equine team can deploy the broader resources of the firm to assist in other issues our equine clients face, including:

  • Employment. Our lawyers can help farms ensure that employees are hired in an appropriate manner, and assist with employment issues that may arise.
  • Litigation and Regulatory. We have significant experience representing industry players in litigation and regulatory proceedings, including representing syndicate managers in syndicate disputes, owners of horses in administrative proceedings, and horse owners in tax court.
  • Tax. Our tax attorneys regularly advise clients in complex equine tax matters such as tax-free exchanges of horses and horse interests, and have considerable experience helping clients in tax court and other venues regarding ad valorem, sales and use tax, and state and federal income taxation matters, as well as other matters.
  • Gaming. Stites & Harbison lawyers have represented clients such as racetracks and casino operators with regard to a wide range of gaming topics including research and analysis of the legal and economic aspects of pari-mutuel wagering, simulcasting, electronic betting sites, including ADWs, Internet gaming, and Native American casino gaming. Our lawyers also have experience representing clients in regulatory matters before state horse racing commissions and the National Indian Gaming Commission.
  • Trade associations. Our attorneys have provided a variety of tax, legislative, and other services to trade and manufacturers’ associations and groups, including the United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. and the Thoroughbred Racing Association.
  • Intellectual Property. We have provided our equine clients with counsel and representation in the creation, registration, management, and litigation of intellectual property claims relating to their horses and equine businesses.
  • Data Security. Our attorneys provide our equine clients with data privacy and security counsel and representation, both domestically and internationally.
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