Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. had his license revoked and was barred from racing in New York for 10 years by the state’s Racing and Wagering Board on Wednesday.
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In its ruling, the board cited Dutrow’s long history of rules infractions, including numerous medication violations. Dutrow won the Derby and the Preakness with Big Brown in 2008 before the colt was pulled up and finished last in the Belmont Stakes in his bid to win the Triple Crown.
”New York’s racing industry has no place or patience for Mr. Dutrow,” board chairman John Sabini said in a statement. ”His repeated violations and disregard of the rules of racing has eroded confidence in the betting public and caused an embarrassment throughout the industry.
”In order to ensure integrity and honesty in the sport of kings in New York, the Board acted appropriately in barring Mr. Dutrow from participating. His self-described ‘game’ in New York horse racing is over. We will not permit individuals who cheat and sully New York’s world-class racing product.”
Over the summer, the board’s hearing officer had recommended Dutrow be barred for life following three days of hearings.
The suspension is effective Oct. 18, but Dutrow’s lawyer Michael Koenig filed a motion seeking to stay the ruling. The appeal is expected to be heard Monday.
”The decision is vindictive, heavy-handed, and most importantly, contrary to the facts, contrary to the evidence, and contrary to any notion of fundamental fairness or due process,” Koenig told the Daily Racing Form. ”The racing and wagering board structure allows them to play prosecutor, judge, and jury. No fair decision can result from such a stacked process.”
The 10-year ban plus $50,000 in fines is one of the most significant penalties issued by the state’s racing and wagering board.
”Today’s ruling . . . is a clear indicator that regulators will not tolerate a pattern of disregard for the rules of racing by a licensee,” said Alex Waldrop, president and chief executive officer of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. ”Integrity is an indispensable part of thoroughbred racing, and all participants must abide by this principle in order to retain the privilege of participation.”
The board’s decision resolves two specific matters that arose in November 2010: Dutrow’s horse Fastus Cactus tested positive for the drug butorphanol — a pain killer 10 times more potent than morphine – after winning the third race at Aqueduct Racetrack on Nov. 20; and three hypodermic needles ”loaded with the drug xyzaline” were found in Dutrow’s desk in Barn 10 at Aqueduct on Nov. 3.
Xyzaline is an analgesic and tranquilizer that can enhance performance by alleviating lameness or calming a nervous horse.
The board suspended Dutrow twice in February for a total of 90 days for those two violations. In March, New York racing authorities deemed Dutrow ”obnoxious” and ”unbecoming” and ordered him to show why he should not be suspended, lose his license and be kicked off state tracks after years and dozens of sanctions.
Earlier this year, Ed Martin, a former state board executive director and currently president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, said that since 1979, Dutrow has been sanctioned ”at least 64 times for various rules violations in nine different states at 15 racetracks,” from administrative matters to serious medication violations.
Dutrow has won more than a dozen training titles in New York over the past 10 years. He also trained 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam. This year, horses trained by the 52-year-old Dutrow have earned nearly $3 million.