06/27/2008 12:00AM

Dutrow has 'no problem' with suspension


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainer Rick Dutrow said Thursday he had "absolutely no problem" with the 15-day suspension ordered by the Churchill Downs stewards, saying he appealed the ruling "because I need to be with my horses right now." He also sought to clarify his record of previous medication offenses.

Dutrow said he intended to complete the required paperwork on Thursday that would permit him an indefinite stay, pending an administrative hearing of the suspension, which is scheduled to run July 6-20. The Dutrow-trained Salute the Count tested positive for an excessive amount of the bronchial dilator clenbuterol after finishing second in the Grade 3, $126,400 Aegon Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on May 2.

"I don't have an issue with their ruling," Dutrow said from New York. "I'm only appealing because I need to be with these horses. I've got some really good horses right now, and I can't afford to be away from them for that kind of time."

If or when Dutrow decides to drop his appeal, he would then serve the 15 days. It is not uncommon for a trainer to time an appeal to serve a suspension when it is more convenient, but Kentucky regulations provide for an administrative review of appeals that could lead to a harsher penalty.

Dutrow, whose large stable is based primarily at Aqueduct, is the trainer of such stars as Big Brown, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, as well as Kip Deville and Benny the Bull.

Dutrow said the 60-day suspension he served in 2005 involved two separate medication positives in New York: one for the local anesthetic mepivacaine from a 2003 case and another for clenbuterol from a 2004 case. "Not two mepivacaines," Dutrow said, referring to a mistaken report in Friday's editions of Daily Racing Form.

"The clenbuterol, I didn't fight that," he said. But he still disputes the mepivacaine positive. "I spent $100,000 fighting that," he said. "I ended up doing the days, but I have never admitted any guilt whatsoever in that case."

The mepivacaine positive was for Farmer Jake's third-place finish in the sixth race at Aqueduct on April 27, 2003. The clenbuterol case was for Starship Smokester's second-place finish in the second race on Jan. 11, 2004, at Aqueduct.

Part of the 2005 suspension addressed a violation of claiming rules for an incident on May 12, 2004, at Belmont Park. The suspension, which began June 1, 2005, originally was 135 days, then was cut to 120, before the New York State Racing and Wagering Board ultimately agreed to 60 days and a $5,000 fine.