Canadian racing reins in horses of Brooks' kin

Two of David Brooks' top horses are worthy Two of David Brooks' top horses are worthy of the prestigious O'Brien Award, but the Canadian awards committee decided last month that they were ineligible because of the legal troubles of the former body-armor manufacturer. Photo Credit: Handout

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David Brooks' troubles have rubbed off on several of the championship horses in his family's racing empire.

No winner has been named for harness racing's prestigious O'Brien Award for 3-year-old pacing fillies after the Canadian awards committee decided last month that the two top nominees for 2009 -- both owned by Brooks' family -- were ineligible because of the legal troubles of the former body-armor manufacturer.

The two horses -- Yellow Diamond and Not Enough -- had each won more than $1 million last year. The awards committee of Standardbred Canada acted after the Ontario Racing Commission suspended the licenses of horses owned by Brooks' relatives, pending further investigation.

The racing commission said it was acting "to ensure public confidence in the honesty and integrity of the [racing] industry."

Sources familiar with the action said the commission wanted to determine if Brooks' transfers of his horse-racing interests to his brother, Jeffrey Brooks, children Jeffrey and Victoria Brooks, and former wife, Terry Brooks, were legitimate.

The transfers occurred after Brooks was arrested in 2007 on charges of looting his former company, DHB Industries, then of Westbury, and officials want to determine if David Brooks is still in control, behind the scenes, sources said.

The U.S. Trotting Association also suspended Brooks' family licenses. The actions effectively prevent Brooks' horses from racing in many of the major tracks in North America. Attorneys for the family could not be reached for comment.

The Brooks' racing business is "a huge operation" with more than 800 horses and winnings last year of a record $12.6 million, more than twice the previous record of $5.1 million set in 2008, according to David Briggs, editor of Canadian Sportsman, a harness racing publication. Federal prosecutors at Brooks' trial in Central Islip have charged that he illegally moved millions of dollars from DHB Industries to a shell company, which then paid for much of his harness-racing activities.

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