07/21/2009 12:00AM

Court grants Dutrow a stay of suspension


The Franklin Circuit Court in Frankfort, Ky., on Tuesday issued a stay of a 30-day suspension that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission had recently handed down to trainer Rick Dutrow, according to his attorney, Frank Becker.

Dutrow appealed the suspension to the circuit court last week, contending that the commission violated his due-process rights and that it based the penalty on insufficient evidence. Civil courts almost always issue stays of suspensions if trainers appeal the penalty, citing the significant loss of income a trainer faces while under suspension.

The racing commission issued the 30-day suspension on July 7 at a meeting. Stewards had initially issued a 15-day suspension, but the commission, on a 6-to-5 margin, voted to double the suspension because of concerns about Dutrow's use of the appeals process, according to racing commission officials.

The penalty was issued after Salute the Count, a horse trained by Dutrow, tested positive for a prohibited amount of the drug clenbuterol after finishing second in the Aegon Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2008. Clenbuterol, a bronchial dilator, cannot appear in a horse's postrace urine or blood samples above a certain level.