03/03/2011 1:27PM

New York board to hold hearing over Dutrow

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Barbara D. Livingston

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board will hold a hearing later this month to determine whether to suspend or revoke Richard Dutrow Jr. trainer’s license because of a history of rules violations.

The hearing is scheduled to be held on March 30 and 31 at the racing board’s office in Schenectady, N.Y.

In a five-point memo, the board, citing several rules pursuant to New York State racing law, will seek to determine whether Dutrow’s license to participate in parimutuel racing should be suspended or revoked because his “character and general fitness are such that [his] participation in parimutuel racing is inconsistent with the public interest, convenience and necessity and with the best interests of racing,” based on a history of rules violations, the memo said.

Further, the board will seek to determine whether Dutrow should be expelled from the premises of all tracks in New York state because he is “a person whose conduct at race tracks in New York state and elsewhere has been improper, obnoxious, unbecoming, and detrimental to the best interests of racing.”

The hearing will also serve as Dutrow’s appeal of the suspensions handed him by the board last month totaling 90 days for a medication positive on a horse who won a race at Aqueduct on Nov. 20, 2010, and for the finding of hypodermic needles in his Aqueduct barn on Nov. 3. The memo indicated that three unlabeled syringes loaded with the drug xyzaline, an analgesic, were found in Dutrow’s desk in room J of his Aqueduct barn, in violation of state racing law. On that day, Dutrow was at Churchill Downs preparing horses to run in the Breeders’ Cup.

Shortly after the suspensions were announced, Ed Martin, the president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, sent a letter to the New York racing board requesting it hold a show-cause hearing as to why Dutrow’s license should not be revoked. Martin’s letter stated that since 1979, Dutrow had been sanctioned at least 64 times for various rules violations in nine different states at 15 different racetracks. Martin was a former executive director of the New York racing board.

A New York board spokesman would not comment when asked if Martin’s letter led to this show cause hearing.

 

Gerard Romski, Dutrow's attorney, said Thursday morning that he had not been notified by the board of the hearing. On Feb. 19, Romski issued a statement saying Martin's letter was singling out Dutrow while ignoring the actions of others in an attempt to "unfairly prejudice and harm Mr. Dutrow without due cause."

 

In an e-mail on Thursday, Romski said, "As we previously stated, we strongly believe there should be no rush to judgment and there is no merit to the claims asserted against Mr. Dutrow. When all the facts are in, and the witch hunt is over, we are confident that Mr. Dutrow will be totally vindicated."

 

Dutrow, 51, is a three-time leading trainer on the New York Racing Association circuit and was the trainer of 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, that y ear’s 3-year-old champion. He trained 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam as well as 2008 champion sprinter Benny the Bull.