Updated on 03/14/2013 5:20PM

Aqueduct: Rodriguez to serve 20-day suspension for 2012 medication violations


Rudy Rodriguez, the leading trainer at Aqueduct and the conditioner of undefeated Kentucky Derby contender Vyjack, will begin serving a 20-day suspension Saturday for two medication positives. Rodriguez was also fined $7,500 by the New York State Gaming Commission.

Rodriguez was penalized for the finding of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Flunixin, also known as Banamine, in post race samples taken from Heiden, who won the last race at Aqueduct on April 7, 2012, and Alston Gunter, who finished third in the first race at Aqueduct on Nov. 21.

Rodriguez was suspended for 40 days, but half of those days were stayed by the Gaming Commission provided Rodriguez gets no further equine drug positives in New York for one year following the last day of the suspension.

Rodriguez’s suspension runs through April 4. Though entries for the April 6 Wood Memorial are taken on April 3, Vyjack will be allowed to enter under Rudy Rodriguez’s name for that race, according to New York Racing Association stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes.

Rodriguez, a former jockey, has also been the regular exercise rider of Vyjack, winner of all four of his starts, including the Grade 3 Gotham on March 2.

Michael Dubb, the owner of both Heiden and Alston Gunter is a member of the New York Racing Association Reorganization Board. He wrote in an e-mail that the administration of banamine “was in no way given to obtain an edge, only to protect the physical well being of my horses. To ensure that this never happens again we have remediated and removed this medication from being administered to my horses all the while hoping that this will not be physically detrimental to them.”

Dubb went on to write that the penalties handed Rodriguez were too harsh when compared to what is recommended by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which, on its web site, suggests a fine of $750 and no suspension for this classification of drug.

“We talk about the need for uniformity and consistency as it relates to medications across the country,” Dubb wrote. “We should also strive to impose equal and consistent penalties based on the science that has been developed to date. Why? Because we need to be fair and treat all trainers equally unless there are facts that call for mitigation or aggravation of a given penalty.

“Here, at most a $750 fine is what was called for, but instead Rudy is set down for 20 days and levied a fine 10 times greater than what was recommended. Something is very wrong and the sport suffers another unnecessary blow – a blow that is also completely unwarranted.”

During the suspension, horses from the Rodriguez barn will race under the name of Gustavo Rodriguez, who is Rudy’s brother and assistant. That includes Kiss the Lady, who runs in Saturday’s $100,000 Cicada Stakes.

Rudy Rodriguez, a former long-time employee of Richard Dutrow Jr., went out on his own in February 2010. He was the leading trainer at Belmont Park’s fall meet that year.

Rodriguez’s 39 victories have him atop the standings at Aqueduct’s inner-track meet, which began last Dec. 12 and runs through Sunday.

Nationally, Rodriguez ranks fourth in purse money earned ($1,965,038) and fifth in wins (39) in 2013.

Susan Kayne More than 1 year ago
Rumor has it NY is holding over 20 positives because "it wouldn't be good for the game" if such a truth were revealed ... does anyone really think this little wrist tap will make any difference? Sad for the horses, deceptive to bettors. Steven Lupardi you are 100% correct about the veterinarians -- they are the ultimate betrayers. Veterinarians take sworn oath to protect the welfare of the horse and according to the New York State Department of Education they jeopardize their license when deceiving the public. Is enabling lame horses to race really in the best interest of horses or the betting public?
Steven Lupardi More than 1 year ago
I can't believe no one has bothered mentioning the real culprits in drug violations. Not the horse or trainer or owner....wait for it...... the VETS. They never get any punishment and they know EXACTLY what they're doing is illegal and against the rules. it's about time they crack down on some vets.
Alan Rosenthal More than 1 year ago
ABOUT F'n time!!
mikey More than 1 year ago
Why is rudy not winning at gulf 1 for 20 something.NYRA might be that easy to cheat or are the vets getting a piece of the action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
his horses at gulf are getting ready for the return to NY when they get back watch out or lay it in. J beau
robert More than 1 year ago
more like he speads 99 percent of his time in new york and has assistant down at gulf
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good trainer win more races than bad trainers some trainers win at 3% a year and start 100 horses .Stop betting on these guys and bet good trainers like Rudy ,Todd Bob Baffet, M Maker and many more like them .If you are a loser do not blame drugs blame you handicapping these little positives or mistakes are not intentional stuff happens . W Lukas had a positive because the groom had cocane on his hands from the 100's in his pocket.This is a tough job go with the winning trainers . I miss R Dutrow very much he was very good for my bank roll . Jbeau
chairmanwong0 More than 1 year ago
Lets not be short sighted to say that horse racing is remotely clean. Its not! But not to worry, all sports is crooked cause there is money involved. So no worries. We're in alignment with other sports. Lets just allow drugs. The at least it will be consistent.
John More than 1 year ago
Thank God for the Daily Racing form! NYRA doesn't report this kind of negitive story on their website. Only what the want you to read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quit the slander he is not guilty untill proven guilty Every track has trainers that win often they are not all medicine trainers are they ? You make this game sound crooked just because you can not pick winners is it somebodys fault beside yours. Jbeau
Dick Fiscus More than 1 year ago
It has taken too long to catch him. Ness is next. You just can't win at these rates with cheap horses!!
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
No such thing as a CHEAP HORSE Dick...Hell owning a DOG isn't cheap ANYMORE!!!...The Cheaters/Repeters finally have a problem...I agree with U about the win rates all over the country...Thats about to CHANGE...ty...
chairmanwong0 More than 1 year ago
Ness is the biggest crook.
sonny lapilotta More than 1 year ago
For any member of the NYRA board to even 'weigh in' on a drug positive is demeaning to both NYRA and racing. It is fairly obvious to all who wager on horse racing that a Dutrow protege who was a jock and maintains a 30% win rate is somehow using something OTHER than canny training skills. Most jocks that have turned trainer barely make a living...Time to clean house NYRA!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The reason is R Dutrow is a trainer of trainers its not easy to get to the top You have to study Mr Dutrow is the type of horseman that you can learn from. Jbeau
martymar . More than 1 year ago
they should do what woodbine do suspend the horse and it makes the owners and trainers more accountable
Mark D More than 1 year ago
Agreed!!! At the end of the day..thier is no real punishment.
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
so a trainer that gets a 1 year suspension should have the horse sit out the year? The horse did not administer the drugs, and many times, the owner has no clue. What if a trainer gave a drug that was theraputic and administered a week ago, but was a few hours or one pee from flushing out of the system.... that owner should be penalized? How about if a trainer is a repeat offender and gets 60 days for something a first time offender gets a fine for, why penalize one owner and not the other? your suggestion is flawed.