Updated on 01/11/2013 12:24PM

Richard Dutrow appeal of 10-year suspension denied for second time by New York's top court

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.'s second appeal of a 10-year suspension was denied by the New York Court of Appeals on Tuesday.

The New York Court of Appeals has ruled for the second time in three months that it will not hear an appeal by trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. of a 10-year suspension handed down by New York regulators in late 2011, dealing what could be a fatal blow to Dutrow’s career.

With the decision, a stay that has allowed Dutrow to continue to train while he appeals the suspension is likely to be lifted in the next several days, once Dutrow is served with the court’s opinion. That will send Dutrow, 54, to the sidelines for the first time since the suspension was issued, in October 2011, nearly 14 months ago.

With the Tuesday decision, the Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York, has now declined twice to hear Dutrow’s appeal, first on the grounds that the suspension did not raise any constitutional questions and now on the basis that the court had no reason to question lower-court rulings upholding the state racing commission’s penalties.

Dutrow’s attorney, Michael Koenig, said Tuesday that “we are considering all options” to avoid serving the suspension.

“Candidly, I’m sick to my stomach,” Koenig said. “In almost 20 years of practice, I have never been as disappointed or disheartened by a decision.”

A call to Dutrow’s cell phone Tuesday was not picked up, and a recording on the phone said his voice-mail inbox was full.

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board issued a statement Tuesday saying that “the court’s action confirms that cheaters who repeatedly violate the rules have no place in New York racing.”

Despite the legal issues hanging over his head – and a checkered past that has resulted in dozens of penalties over the past decade – Dutrow was the co-leading trainer in New York this year with 110 wins. It was Dutrow’s fourth New York training title.

According to officials, Dutrow’s next legal option would be to appeal the suspension in federal court. If Dutrow decides to appeal, he could seek to obtain an additional stay while the appeal is heard, but several officials have said that federal courts are not as likely to grant injunctions as state courts, especially after legal options in state court have been exhausted.

Samantha Siegel, the owner of Jay Em Ess Stable which has horses with Dutrow, said Tuesday morning that she had read reports of the Court of Appeals ruling, but she had yet to hear from Dutrow or his attorney about whether he would go forward with a federal appeal. If his stay is lifted, Siegel will be required to move her horses to a new trainer.

“As long as he is allowed to train, he will be my trainer,” said Siegel, who has been one of Dutrow’s staunchest supporters. “I haven’t really thought about who I might move them to. I haven’t wanted to.”

The state racing and wagering board handed down the 10-year suspension on the basis that Dutrow’s “conduct at racetracks in New York State and elsewhere has been improper, obnoxious, unbecoming, and detrimental to the best interests of racing.” Following the ruling, the licensing committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission declined to renew Dutrow’s license in the state.

Dutrow has three horses entered on Wednesday’s card at Aqueduct: Exclusive Bull in the fourth, Sacred Success in the sixth, and Charlie’s Quest in the eighth. He has one entered on Thursday’s card, Mr. Lit in the fourth, and two in on Friday’s card, Late Starter in the second, and El Oh El in the third. He also has D' Pepjo entered in the ninth race at Gulfstream on Thursday.

An official familiar with the legal process said that once the board receives notice that Dutrow has been served with the court order, then the board will draft a suspension notice and issue that notice to tracks with a start date for the suspension. The order will likely take effect immediately upon receipt by the tracks, so once the order is issued, Dutrow will be unable to act as a trainer.

Andy Yu More than 1 year ago
I need to contact this trainer about a horse named Diamond Stripes. Under his training Diamond Stripes was a stakes winner and Breeders Cup Classic runner in 2007. After winning a 1 million dollar race in Dubai, he disappeared for nearly two years before making one more start for Dutrow in 2010. Afterwards, the horse couldn't even compete in $5,000 claiming races once he was sold to a new owner... I'm wondering if it was the use of PED's that made him a successful horse.
serio_mserio More than 1 year ago
I don not know about you all but I think the board is being unfair simply because they do not like him. From 2000-2010 how many of the top 10 trainers based on earnings had drug violations?? 9 of them only graham motion didn't. Sometimes horses test positive because they are over in the amount of micrograms of brute which is the horse equivalent of ibuprofen. I called the boards office in up stat New York today and told them they are making him a scapegoat and my family and I will no longer bet any New York tracks. You can penalize the man but not end his life.
serio_mserio More than 1 year ago
518-395-5400 tell them this is wrong if you feel like I do
Vincent Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Not a big fan of this guy from all the stories I read. A few stories of people who post about Big Brown have been taken off this story. I was there in 2008 Belmont Park and saw BIG BROWN in the most miserable day of racing. Tempature in the HIGH 90"s and maybe HIGHER. People dropping like flies from being dehydrated or having heat stroke Remember ? Now I am no Vet but I can tell that BIG BROWN that day under Tack and Kent Desourmeaux in the Irons was off , way off . Now if I knew it , IEAH Knew, the Trainer Knew it , my question would be , where are the track Vets when they where in POST PARADE while everyone was sing NEW YORK NEW YORK While BIG BROWN jogged off in PP> I am sure they let this one slide because it was BIG BROWN shooting for history. And we all know the results. You can blame everyone involded with that one from the hot walker to all hands on , to the trainer. Vets included.
Mike Crowe More than 1 year ago
What it does not clarify is that Dutrow was in Kentucky preparing his horses for the Breeders Cup when authorities raided a barn at Aqueduct where Dutrow Racing was training horses. Has anyone ever entered the barn area at a racetrack? Unless it is early in the morning or late in the afternoon, it's a ghost town. There is no one patrolling and guarding the individual stables. Once you drive through the main gate, you can walk into nearly every trainers barn between 11am and 2pm and be lucky to be greeted by a single person. So how can you hold a single man who is in another state, 800 miles away, accountable for syringes in a horse stable office? Would a cheat be stupid enough to leave syringes filled with painkillers in his desk? There is no way in hell. A 10 year suspension? What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Like I said, someone has an ax to grind.
BBT More than 1 year ago
Because that's what happens when you are the trainer!! If you want to have horses all over the country, fine, but YOU are responsible for them. That's it, plain and simple. If he felt there could be an issue, he should have left instructions with his assistant to make sure the doors were locked when no one was there. But it still doesn't matter, he is the trainer on record.
Mike Crowe More than 1 year ago
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the following brought on the 10 year suspension - "In October 2011 the three-member racing board cited infractions including syringes containing a painkiller and sedative found in his desk and the painkiller butorphanol, an opioid analgesic, found in the urine of his horse Fastus Cactus in 2010 after it won at Aqueduct Racetrack. The board also fined him $50,000. Dutrow told a hearing officer that he didn’t know how the syringes got into his desk. A blood test of Fastus Cactus didn’t show any butorphanol, and Dutrow’s expert witness theorized that the urine test might have been contaminated. He faced brief New York suspensions for drug violations in 2003, 2004 and 2008."
Phil Bumgardner More than 1 year ago
Peter More than 1 year ago
This trainer is one of the best trainers i know. he has been helping nyra and entering horses for years. his horses always look good are healthy and run well!! this is and outrage that a man will lose his job and his way of life!! trainers know nothing else other then train there horses which is no easy job. but do it 7 days a week with no vacations or any breaks from work. hard work that never ends! but they gladly do it everyday and love it and never complain. Iam truly sorry for what is going on here!! to anfair to even think about it.
Scott More than 1 year ago
The real irony in this is that some horseplayers actually think good is being done by ostracizing Mr. Dutrow. Small minded and limited group who do not understand the game they wager on.
Kurt K More than 1 year ago
Another genius that thinks that he knows more than the rest of us. What pray tell is your wealth of knowledge about the industry? And if commenting on the subject makes no difference..what are you commenting for? Please let us "small minded " people know Mr. Know it all
Kurt K More than 1 year ago
And by ostracizing, removing, him from the NYRA trainer ranks of course good is being done. Explain how his removal is not a good idea?
Mike Crowe More than 1 year ago
If all of these other well known trainers have so many violations, then why is Dutrow being given a death sentence? A one year suspension would have been a harsh "wake-up call" if that was really the intent. 10 years? Someone, somewhere has an ax to grind.
noalaistoday More than 1 year ago
I am not a fan of Dutrow in any way. But I agree, 10 years is a little over the top. 12 to 18 months with a strong probation would be more justified
Scott More than 1 year ago
Mr. Levy You are miising the point. All are medicating, the more expensive vets evade detection better. Mr. Levy you are like the sports announcer who doesnt do anything but give you the score. Please open your eyes tothe fact that the larger the pocketbook , the better at avoiding detection. Perhaps you should watch a race every now and then.
Charles Levy More than 1 year ago
scott u ever own a horse u ever been backside did u ever hold a horse
Lucy Ohannessian More than 1 year ago
That doesn't even make sense. Dutrow hasn't done anything many others haven't, he just hasn't been as slick, has an "above it" attitude and can be abrasive and finds it humorous. All who say horseplayers in NY will celebrate his leaving go to NY seldom if at all. And that *includes* horseman, perhaps more than all, who are quite familiar with the rather stunning condition of his horses in the paddock and his above the bar record when it comes to breakdowns. You seem to be an O'Neill fan, who is associated with things one heck of a lot more serious. As for Pletcher....who fries out and/or dumps off horses regularly, and was making excuses before this year's Lasix free Breeders' Cup Juvenile races....he came to prominence in NY with the Lasix ban lifted. Dutrow gained his bearings in NY before that Lasix era. I recall his term with Lite the Fuse, who broke his maiden out of the box in an allowance at Saratoga. That's the sort of flash characteristic of him that would have people today screaming "drugs!," and yet occurred in a Lasix free era. Whoever looks beyond the stats and at the more palpable truth know Dutrow is many things, but amongst them a superb horseman.
Charles Levy More than 1 year ago
lucy www.equibase.com Lite The Fuse was owened any trained by his dad not by Richard Dutrow jr SR owened bred trained Lit The Fuse i am a o neill fan we talk couple times a week