Updated on 04/04/2013 5:37PM

Aqueduct: Rodriguez's attorney criticizes NYRA's slow response to security request


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The attorney representing embattled trainer Rudy Rodriguez claims inaction by the New York Racing Association led to the possible tampering with a filly who ran on March 10 at Aqueduct and was subsequently found to have an excess level of the drug Flunixin in her post-race sample.

Attorney Karen Murphy claims NYRA failed to respond in a timely fashion to requests from Rodriguez in February to install the necessary wiring in barn 10 at Aqueduct that would have allowed Rodriguez to install cameras in that barn, which he shares with trainer David Jacobson. Rodriguez has cameras installed throughout barn  6 at Aqueduct, where the majority of his horses are stabled. Rodriguez also employs a night watchman in barn  6, according to Murphy.

The filly Majestic Marquet was stabled in barn 10 and tested positive for an unusually high level of Flunixin – or banamine, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory – after winning a starter/optional claiming race on March 10.

Murphy said that state officials confirmed to her the level of Flunixin detected in the filly’s system was 405 nanograms per milliliter. Most jurisdictions, including New York, allow 20 to 50 nanograms per milliliter to be in a horse’s system.

“It’s an enormous dose given within 24 hours of a race – somebody got to the horse,” Murphy said. “This is a tampering case; I’m 100 percent certain of this.”

Rodriguez is the trainer of the undefeated 3-year-old Vyjack, who is the second choice on the morning-line for Saturday’s $1 million Wood Memorial. On Friday, Rodriguez was scheduled to return from a 20-day suspension for two Flunixin positives dating back to 2012.

NYRA attorney Ken Handal, in an April 1 e-mail to Murphy, wrote that NYRA had not received a “detailed layout for the installation of the cameras” and that NYRA would “undertake an inquiry” into the matter.

Murphy countered by saying that NYRA “has all the necessary physical layout information as this is a NYRA barn” and simply failed to do the necessary wiring work.

Further, Murphy wrote, “the failure by NYRA to commence and complete this work in a timely manner resulted in a serious security breach for which there are significant consequences not only for NYRA, but for the betting public, the filly’s owners and my client. We look forward to the results of the ‘inquiry’ that you will be conducting.”

Late Thursday, NYRA acknowledged that someone from Rodriguez’s barn made two requests to have cameras installed, but that Rodriguez did not provide a detailed layout plan that he had provided when he had cameras installed in barn 6.

“We didn’t have enough information to complete the work order,” the NYRA spokesperson said.

Owners Michael Imperio and David Wilkenfeld – the latter owns Vyjack – have put up a combined $40,000 in reward money for information that can prove tampering was involved.

Dan More than 1 year ago
When will this end? Nyra should not have allowed Rudy to bargain down the 6 positives to just 2. One thing is becoming clear, Nyra is weak in punishment for violators. Now let us see if they blink with Murphy. I truly hope Nyra hold firm. That is the only way to clean up the mess. Also, hard to believe that, lets call him the one armed man, knew what to give the horse, s well as which horse it was and when it was running. That is a lot of circumstances.
Danny Gonzalez More than 1 year ago
Here we go again. The wires were cut by another trainer who did not want to have his area monitored. Nyra has the responsibility to repair the system or authorize the trainer to get someone from the outside to do the work. The problem with NYRA supposed policies on its you call a number and they handle the maintenance . The Camera system was installed by an outside contractor Paid by Rick Dutrow. Tampering with other peoples horses has been a problem in the past. If they dont like you they will set you up to get your horses. In this case doesnt anyone see the reasoning of the person who tampered with the horse They knew rudy would get additional time and more time, The idea was to keep rudy out of the triple crown series. And force the owners to move the horse to another trainer that would be more likeable to the public during the triple crown series. Again there is more to this story than what you people are suggesting. Banamine is availible very easily on the back side anyone can get it online or from a vet. Its less suspicious to walk around with oral paste than a needle
Lucien More than 1 year ago
and the person that infiltrated the unsecured barn just so happened to use the same drugs as used on the other horses that had bad tests! I could be the lawyer on the other side in this one and prove he's guilty....and I cant even spell lawya.
Diane Treadway More than 1 year ago
Well said Lucian I agree a 100% with everything you stated in your comments here!! Durtrow & his paper trainer now Rudy Rod. is a joke what they get away with hope they go broke on Lawyers!! most states they are not allowed to put Assitant Trainers down as Trainers when they have a supension!!! why isnt New YORK standing by this rule!!!!
Lucien More than 1 year ago
There are countless barns between Aqueduct and Belmont that do NOT have security cameras...I don't see any other trainers getting bad tests especially at the rate of super trainer. If he was that concerned then why not have one or two night watchmen in that barn until the cameras are installed. why would you risk the security and tampering of your horses for the inaction of some other third party. any trainer would protect their horses at all costs if he was really concerned with tampering.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If attorney Karen Murphy---not racing expert Karen Murphy, or Detective Karen Murphy---says it's tampering, then we must believe her, right? Because it's not like she's a hired gun willing to say or bluster anything in public to protect a client who has had suspicion floating around him like smog since he got his training license, and who got off to a noticeably strong start on one of the toughest circuits for a trainer to win on, New York. No, there's no need to be skeptical of him, right?
Danny Gonzalez More than 1 year ago
NY is not a tough circuit to win on when you have the right horses you cant race charlestown 5k claimers there and expect to win.
jttf More than 1 year ago
the trainers and lawyers fail to respond to suspensions in a timely matter all of the time. so why cant the NYRA delay the wiring request for up to a year ?
Nathan More than 1 year ago
here we go again. hire a lawyer and blame nyra. all the big outfits, including r,r, hire their own 24 hour security. he wil buy another 6months - 2 years before he is suspended again. put all his horses i retention. it's the only way.
Jon Cohen More than 1 year ago
In related news, Jane Cibelli's attorney is claimimg that Tampa Bay Down's failure to dig a moat and place a drawbridge over it allowed the state vet to sneak into her barn unnanounced and catch her veterinarian commiting an unspeakable act. "If the track had acted in a timely fashion, and wired the electricity so the drawbridge could have been raised, then the state vet would never have gotten in tothe barn and witness what was taking place."
Diane Treadway More than 1 year ago