Trust is a priceless commodity in the equine business. Horse trading doesn't work without confidence in your partners.
Confidence also is essential to a swindle — it's the "con" in con game.
Small-time Lexington horse breeder Bobby Lail learned the expensive way that sometimes confidence in family friends can be misplaced.
Lail, a bridge contractor by trade, dabbled for years in Thoroughbred racing and breeding. He and his wife, Happy, bred and sold mares, raised foals, raced horses and thoroughly enjoyed their pricey hobby.
A few years ago, on the advice of the son of old friend J.T. Lundy, Lail bought some stallion "seasons," the rights to breed mares to particular stallions for a given year. Or he thought he bought them.
Now, the convoluted deals have unraveled, leaving Lail owing thousands, his weanlings worthless. And his trust destroyed.
Robert A. Lundy, son of the former Calumet Farm President J.T. Lundy, is facing four felony charges of theft by deception involving stallion seasons. He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 1.
Earlier this month, in civil court in Lexington, Robert Lundy was found liable and ordered to pay almost $1.5 million to Lail.
"People say, 'Why would you trust somebody like that?' But your friends are the ones you trust," Lail said in an interview. "Pretty much your friends and your family's about all you've got in life."
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