The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) and Mercer County, Kentucky, Fiscal Court are asking a court to grant them ownership of more than 40 horses seized by authorities after allegedly being abandoned earlier this year by Charles and Maria Borell.

In June, KDA investigators responded to a call about a herd of allegedly abandoned horses residing on a Mercer County farm. Further investigation revealed 43 horses, mostly Thoroughbreds, on the property.

On June 29, following a joint investigation by the KDA and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, Chuck Borell was arrested and charged with 43 counts of misdemeanor second-degree animal cruelty in connection with the horses’ alleged abandonment. A separate warrant was issued for the arrest of Chuck Borell’s daughter Maria, who trained Runhappy to a 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint victory, on identical charges.

Charles Borell pleaded not guilty to the charges and is free on bond, pending a hearing slated for Sept. 29.

Angela G. Blank, KDA public relations director, said Maria Borell has not been arrested and is living in another state.

On Sept. 20, attorneys for KDA and the Mercer County Fiscal Court, filed a complaint in Mercer Circuit Court disputing the Borells’ ownership of the 43 seized horses. The complaint asks the court to rule that the county