10/28/2008 12:00AM

Dutrow medication case gets new look


The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Monday voted to send a medication case involving trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. back to the hearing officer after the officer initially threw out the case on a technicality.

The commission's vote will require Jim Robke, the hearing officer, to review the case again along with documents supporting the commission's contention that the medication violation should not have been thrown out.

The commission ruled that the Dutrow-trained Salute the Count tested for a prohibited level of clenbuterol, a bronchial dilator, after he finished second in the fifth race at Churchill Downs on May 2.

Earlier this month, Robke ruled that the case should be dismissed because the tests were conducted on the horse's blood "plasma." Kentucky's regulations state that the prohibited levels only apply to tests done on a horse's blood "serum."

Serum is the clear liquid that can be separated from clotted blood. Plasma is the liquid portion of normal unclotted blood containing the red and white cells and platelets.

Racing commission staff countered that the chemists who conducted the tests erred by labeling the tests as having been done on blood plasma instead of serum.

After the initial findings, Dutrow was suspended 15 days and Salute the Count was disqualified. He appealed the ruling, resulting in Robke's decision to throw the ruling out.