06/14/2016 12:47PM

Kentucky commission to consider stay for suspended owner-trainer Umarov


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Wednesday is scheduled to consider a request by the banned owner-trainer Otabek Umarov to stay a 10-year suspension handed down by Kentucky’s stewards near the end of May.

The consideration of the stay appeared on an agenda for the Wednesday meeting that was issued on Tuesday. The materials for the meeting indicate that the commission’s executive director, Marc Guilfoil, denied the stay on June 8, leading to the appeal to the full commission.

Umarov was banned for 10 years by the stewards on the grounds that he refused to allow commission personnel to take an out-of-competition blood sample from a stakes winner he trained in late April while stabled at Churchill Downs. The stewards’ ruling claimed that Umarov exacerbated the situation when he surreptitiously ordered a stable employee to remove the horse from the grounds while stewards and other commission personnel attempted to resolve the matter.

Umarov, who is from Uzbekistan, appealed the suspension in early June. His appeal states that Umarov was denied due process during his hearing before the stewards because he is not fluent in English. In addition, the appeal states that Umarov refused to allow the horse to be sampled because the commission representative who initially showed up at his barn was not carrying an official form of identification or a signed order.

Umarov’s appeal also notes that the owner-trainer was sanctioned under out-of-competition testing regulations approved in 2010 that have not yet withstood legal scrutiny because Umarov was the first Kentucky licensee to be penalized under the rules.

“This is a complicated and apparently first-of-its kind case,” states the appeal, written by the experienced racing attorney Joel B. Turne. “Mr. Umarov should not be entirely deprived of his ability to earn a living until the case is finally adjudicated.”

If the commission denies the request for a stay, Umarov could appeal for a stay through state civil courts.