06/25/2008 7:35PM

Bad Rap Sheet?


By now you've doubtless read somewhere about trainer Rick Dutrow's "72 citations for offenses" (Sports Illustrated), his "72 separate rules violations" (espn.com), or, in the even looser reporting standards of the blogosphere, his "72 suspensions" or "72 doping violations." Problem is, it all stems from the same source and neither the number nor the characterization of what they constitute appears to be true.

The source for the 72 supposed infractions is a database search from the Association of Racing Commissioners International, as published on The Baltimore Sun's website during Preakness Week. The header of the 33-page report begins "richard eugene dutrow Rulings Against: 72" and apparently that's about as far as a lot of people read:

1. Only 59 "rulings" appear to be listed as opposed to the 72 in the header.

2. Many of them are duplicative or are the second or third iteration of a single ruling following a modification or appeal.

3. Some of them are not "rulings against" Dutrow at all, such as the four in which racing commissions ruled he was "restored to good standing" after paying fines or restitution.

4. Many of them do not have anything to do with administering illegal medication, and are for such common infractions as failing to have foal papers on file, providing the correct owners' colors to the jockey room, or failure to follow entry and scratch procedures. Eight of them involve his personal marijuana use and posession more than 15 years ago.

It appears the correct number of medication rulings is 13, not 72: six Bute overages, four Lasix overages, two for clenbuterol, and the mepivicaine positive for which he was suspended (along with a clenbuterol positive) 60 days in 2005. This is not a record worthy of consideration for the Exemplar Of Racing Award, but it's also not 72 cases of doping horses.

Below is a summary of the "rulings" listed in the ARCI document, which appears to omit the $25k fine New York assessed for Dutrow's violating the terms of his 2005 suspension by communicating with his assistants. Also, the first item was not in the ARCI report, which was generated a month earlier.