08/01/2008 12:00AM

Kentucky official defends Dutrow ban

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The chairman of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission contended in a letter sent on Friday that the commission's recent 15-day suspension of the trainer Richard Dutrow was appropriate given the state's regulations, according to a copy of the letter provided by the commission. The letter was sent in response to a query from a congressional subcommittee.

Robert Beck, the commission's chairman, said that the commission issued the 15-day suspension for a positive postrace drug test for the bronchial dilator clenbuterol after taking into consideration the concentration of the drug in the sample and the state's penalty guidelines.

The response was sent to Rep. Bobby Rush, a Democrat from Illinois and the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Rush sent a letter earlier this week to the commission contending that "some have disputed the appropriateness" of the penalty given Dutrow's prior suspension for a clenbuterol overage in 2004.

Beck's letter said that existing rules in Kentucky do not allow regulators to take into account any suspension before September 2005 in issuing a penalty. Kentucky's medication rules were overhauled in 2005 to make the regulations stricter.

Dutrow has appealed the suspension, and was granted a stay of a hearing earlier this week.