Updated on 04/16/2011 3:56PM

Deal allows two Richard Dutrow horses to run at Keeneland


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Thursday issued a license to Justin Sallusto, a trainer with 10 starts this year, in order to clear the way for two horses trained by Richard Dutrow to make starts in stakes races at Keeneland.

The license was issued following a flurry of legal activity surrounding the decision on Wednesday by the state racing commission’s Licensing Review Committee to deny a license to Dutrow, citing his long history of violations and “misrepresentations” on his license application. Because of the decision, two horses trained by Dutrow that had been entered in Thursday and Friday stakes races at Keeneland were expected to be scratched, but Dutrow and the owners of one of the horses, Amen Hallelujah, had obtained a temporary restraining order earlier in the day to prevent the scratch.

Racing with Sallusto as the listed trainer, Amen Hallelujah finished second in the Grade 1 Vinery Madison Stakes on Thursday afternoon. She was the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the race, and is owned by IEAH Stables and Whizway Farm.

WATCH REPLAY: Amen Hallelujah finishes second in Vinery Madison >>

Dick Brown, a spokesman for the commission, said the commission had agreed to issue the license to Sallusto in consultation with the owners of the two Dutrow horses.

In the temporary restraining order issued Thursday, Judge Philip J. Shepherd of the first division of the Franklin Circuit Court wrote that Dutrow and the horse’s owners "will suffer irreparable injury if the court does not grant injunctive relief." Shepherd also wrote that the decision by the Licensing Review Committee to deny the license "has demonstrated the existence of substantial legal questions regarding the right to due process in the license renewal process."

The ruling, however, contained a factual error. In it, Shepherd wrote that Amen Hallelujah was entered in the Vinery Madison "over two weeks prior to the action of the commission." In fact, the horse was entered on Sunday.

After the temporary restraining order was issued, commission lawyers attempted to appeal the ruling, but a hearing in the Kentucky Court of Appeals at 3 p.m. Eastern was canceled after the commission reached the agreement to issue the license to Sallusto, who will also be the listed trainer for Court Vision when the horse runs on Friday in the Maker’s Mark Mile.

Bob Beck, the chairman of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, said on Thursday after the Vinery Madison that the commission will again seek to get an appeal heard on Friday over the Franklin District Court’s temporary restraining order.

Shepherd said in his ruling that Dutrow "has also made an allegation of arbitrary and capricious action by the commission, to which [he] is entitled to a full hearing on the merits." Dutrow’s license in Kentucky had expired, and he filed his application with the commission on Tuesday afternoon.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee

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