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HORSE RACING

Jerry Jamgotchian claims Richard Shapiro keyed his car

Longtime nemesis files a complaint with the state horse racing board. Inglewood police are investigating his complaint.

May 12, 2009|Lance Pugmire

The former chairman of the California Horse Racing Board is the focus of a criminal investigation for allegedly keying a longtime nemesis' pricey foreign car in Hollywood Park's parking lot last month, the Inglewood Police Department said Monday.

Richard Shapiro, who directed the CHRB for four years until his December resignation, allegedly scratched horse owner Jerry Jamgotchian's 2007 Jaguar XJS after an April 24 CHRB meeting.

Jamgotchian filed a formal written complaint with the CHRB last week requesting that the racing board "initiate an investigation into Richard Shapiro's recent 'keying/vandalism' of my vehicle at Hollywood Park." Jamgotchian is seeking to bar Shapiro from state racetracks and to have his horseman's license suspended. "Video of the incident is available from Hollywood Park Security and I expect that the Inglewood Police Department's Report will be completed and made available [this] week."

Shapiro did not return messages left at his office and home Monday.

CHRB Executive Director Kirk Breed confirmed that Jamgotchian had filed the complaint and said the Inglewood police would be the lead investigators on the vandalism complaint.

Messages left at Hollywood Park security offices on Monday were not returned.

The state racing board next meets on June 5.

If Shapiro were charged with a crime and convicted, Breed said, "the board would vote whether or not to revoke his license."

Jamgotchian, a Manhattan Beach owner of more than 100 racehorses, has skirmished with Shapiro in recent years, one issue being the board's mandate for all state tracks to have synthetic racetracks installed.

Jamgotchian also has filed numerous state public records act requests with the board and he often contacts media outlets regarding negative or embarrassing details about the board or racetrack owners.

Shapiro has long maintained that the synthetic track mandate was not his order alone -- that the board approved the move after a slew of racing deaths at Del Mar's 2006 meet.

"I'm a racehorse owner advocate," Jamgotchian said previously. "We're the ones sending the horses out there. If we're more vocal, that's better for racing."

In October 2007, Jamgotchian claimed Shapiro ordered the owner's microphone to be shut off during the public comment portion of a CHRB meeting. Jamgotchian claims Shapiro was due criticism for a "lack of transparency."

Following his resignation, Shapiro landed consultant work for the California Horse Racing Alliance. It was in that role that he appeared, with Jamgotchian, at the April 24 CHRB meeting, where the 2009-10 budget, the bankruptcy of Santa Anita's parent company and Del Mar racing dates were discussed.

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Times staff writer Bill Dwyre contributed to this report.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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