01/09/2013 5:41PM

Dutrow plans to fight suspension in federal court

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. plans to ask a federal court to prevent the New York State Racing and Wagering Board from suspending his license for 10 years.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – In a last-ditch effort to save his training career, Richard Dutrow Jr. planned to seek intervention from a federal court Friday to prevent the New York State Racing and Wagering Board from suspending his license for 10 years.

“We’re going to go to federal court,” Dutrow said Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, the New York Court of Appeals for the second time in three months ruled it would not hear Dutrow’s appeal of a suspension handed down by New York regulators in 2011. Dutrow was slapped with a 10-year suspension for a history of rules violations and for “conduct at racetracks in New York State and elsewhere [that] has been improper, obnoxious, unbecoming, and detrimental to the best interests of racing.”

Dutrow has been permitted to train while going through his legal options in New York. He was permitted to run his three horses entered on Wednesday – he had two thirds and a fourth – and will continue to be permitted to work until he is officially served notice of the suspension from the state attorney general’s office, according to a spokesman from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

“It is going to happen soon,” said Lee Park, a spokesman for the NYSRWB, who did not have an exact date.

Dutrow had horses entered to run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

On Wednesday, Dutrow went about his business as usual, overseeing the training of his 60 horses based at Aqueduct, including the aptly named Thepowersthatbe, an unraced 3-year-old filly he worked out of the gate.

“Ain’t that what I’m supposed to be doing?” Dutrow said.

As he went from his barn to the track, Dutrow received words of encouragement from many on the backside.

“Everyone’s been very nice to me,” Dutrow said.

Dutrow vowed to continue to fight to save his livelihood, hoping to have a court hear his case.

“I will not give up, there’s no way I’m going to give up,” he said. “I keep saying it, but I know I’m going to be okay at the end of the day, I know it. I’m not interested in anything else. I’m going to fight until everybody sees it our way.”

Asked if he has thought about his future off the track if he is not permitted to train, Dutrow said, “I haven’t went over that yet, because I’m still here.”

Dutrow, 54, has won 1,809 races in his career, including the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with Big Brown. He has been the first or second leading trainer on the New York Racing Association circuit in eight of the last 12 years, including 2012 when he tied for the top spot with David Jacobson. Both trainers had 110 wins.

Jacobson, who is stabled one barn away from Dutrow on the Aqueduct backside, said he likes competing against Dutrow.

“I am honored to be stabled next to him to just watch him and learn,” Jacobson said. “It’s really sad to see someone with his talent not to able to train horses for a long time.”

Frank Laboccetta, now an assistant for Jacobson after working as a trainer on this circuit for several decades, believes Dutrow has been dealt with unfairly.

“I don’t think it’s fair what he’s receiving, I really don’t,” Laboccetta said. “He’s a good person, and I think he’s one of the best trainers in New York.”