01/13/2012 4:47PM

Laurel Park stewards fine Dutrow for Lasix violation


Stewards at Laurel Park in Maryland have disqualified a horse trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. that finished first in the Dec. 17 Maryland Juvenile Championship because the horse was treated with the anti-bleeding medication furosemide one hour prior to post.

The disqualification arose after the trainers of the next three finishers in the $75,000 race lodged a complaint alleging that the horse, King and Crusader, received the furosemide injection within two hours of the race, a violation of the state’s racing rules. Dutrow also was fined $500 by the stewards, who issued the ruling Thursday after conducting a hearing Saturday.

The incident is sure to create additional problems for Dutrow, who is currently appealing a 10-year suspension handed down by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board that cited Dutrow’s long history of violations and called his continued participation in the sport “inconsistent with the best interests of racing.” Dutrow has received a stay of the suspension while it is being appealed.

King and Crusader won a starter handicap on Friday at Aqueduct, and after the race, the horse’s owner, James Riccio, said he planned to appeal the stewards’ ruling to the Maryland Racing Commission, contending that the stewards should have been aware of the late injection and scratched the horse.

“Anybody that knows racing knows that you can get only so many efforts out of a horse,” Riccio said. “I’m not looking to waste an effort for no reason. They’re putting the blame on Rick [Dutrow] and the vet, and I’m putting the blame on them.”

According to steward John Burke, one of three state stewards in Maryland, the trainers lodged the appeal the Tuesday following the Saturday race after rumors spread that King and Crusader had not arrived on the grounds at Laurel until approximately one hour prior to post. Burke said that as a result of the hearing, “it was indisputable” that the horse had been treated one hour prior to post.

Brian Delp, the private veterinarian who treated the horse, was fined $1,000 for his role in the incident.

During the Saturday hearing, Burke said that Dutrow testified that the horse was late in arriving to Laurel because of traffic on the interstate leading to Maryland from New York, where Dutrow is based. Dutrow apparently had a telephone conversation with the state vet at Laurel as the horse was in transit, and he testified that the state vet said that the horse could be treated after he arrived, Burke said.

But Burke also said that there was a discrepancy between Dutrow and the state vet over what time the telephone conversation took place. He said that the discrepancy didn’t figure into the penalty regardless, because Maryland’s rules require that a horse be treated with furosemide at least two hours prior to post.

In addition, Burke said that stewards had not been notified of the horse’s late arrival. If the stewards had received notification, they would have scratched the horse, Burke said, since it would violate racing rules to allow a horse to run that is listed in the program as having received furosemide if the horse was not administered the medication.

“He would have definitely been scratched if the stewards had been made aware of the situation,” Burke said.

Dutrow’s attorney, Michael Koenig, who also is arguing Dutrow’s appeal of the New York penalty, did not return phone calls Friday.

King and Crusader paid $34.60 winning the Maryland Juvenile Championship, in his first start in Maryland. The favorite, Glib, finished second after being passed late in the stretch.

– additional reporting by David Grening