07/06/2009 11:00PM

Kentucky doubles Dutrow suspension


The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Tuesday narrowly approved a motion to increase a suspension handed down in 2008 to trainer Richard Dutrow from 15 days to 30 days.

The commission voted 6 to 5 to double the length of the suspension just after defeating a measure by the same margin to uphold the original suspension. Lisa Underwood, the commission's executive director, said after the meeting that commissioners were concerned about comments Dutrow had made last year indicating that he had appealed the suspension in order to avoid serving the days because of his desire to start horses in several stakes races.

"It's offensive to the betting public to hear that," Underwood said, adding, "At some point we need to draw a line in the sand and say we have to protect the integrity of the sport."

Robert Decker, Dutrow's attorney, said that he would talk to Dutrow before deciding whether to appeal the ruling. An appeal would have to be filed in Franklin Circuit Court in Frankfort, Ky., within 10 days of the commission's final order, which is expected by the end of the week.

Stewards at Churchill Downs issued the initial suspension after the Dutrow-trained Salute the Count tested positive for clenbuterol, a prohibited raceday bronchial dilator, after a second-place finish in the Aegon Turf Sprint on May 2.

A hearing officer initially recommended that the suspension be thrown out because of an administrative error in the language of the order issued by the stewards. But the hearing officer reversed that opinion earlier this year, contending that the error did not affect the test results.

If Dutrow does not appeal, he will be required under Kentucky's rules to transfer all of his horses to a trainer that does not have any financial ties to his operation.