02/26/2013 10:13PM

Richard Dutrow Jr. sues in federal court to overturn ban and collect damages

Barbara D. Livingston
Richard Dutrow Jr. last November before exhausting his appeals in state court to a 10-year suspension.

Suspended trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday seeking damages in the amount of $10 million as well as an injunction that would lift the New York racing regulatory body’s 10-year ban of his license.

The suit, filed in the Eastern District of New York, names as defendants the New York State Gaming Commission - formerly the New York State Racing and Wagering Board - as well as individual racing board members John Sabini, Daniel Hogan, and Charles Diamond and the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

The suit contends that Dutrow “has been substantially and irreparably harmed” by the board’s 10-year suspension - “which effectively acts as a lifetime ban” - and $50,000 fine.

The suit contends that Dutrow was denied due process by Sabini, who was serving as an officer of both the ARCI and the state racing board when the proceedings against Dutrow were initiated. In Ferburary 2011, the ARCI sent a letter to the state racing board asking it to review Dutrow’s fitness to continue to train horses.

“The defendants in the action deprived Dutrow of due process under the law and engaged in wrongful and malicious actions against him,” said Mitchell Elman, who along with Steven Hyman filed the case in federal court on Dutrow’s behalf.

Dutrow, 53, began serving the 10-year suspension on Jan. 17 after a New York Court of Appeals declined for a second time to hear his case. From Oct. 2011 - when the state racing board issued its penalty - through last Jan. 17, Dutrow had been training under a stay afforded him in state court.

In the second of three claims for relief, the suit asks the federal court to grant “a mandatory injunction” to vacate the suspension and allow Dutrow to train again.

It is unclear when the case will be heard. The judge assigned the case is Sandra Townes.

The state racing board sought the revocation of Dutrow’s license for a history of rules violations that most recently included a positive test for Butorphanol, a painkiller, found in one of the horses he trained who won at Aqueduct in November 2010. Around that same time, three syringes loaded with a prohibited substance were found in the desk drawer of his Aqueduct office.