09/13/2004 11:00PM

Rider stabbed to death

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An exercise rider and part-time jockey was stabbed to death outside the main track kitchen and recreation hall on the Belmont Park grounds early Tuesday, according to Nassau County police.

The rider, Dilip Amarsingh, was transported by ambulance to Winthrop Hospital in nearby Mineola, N.Y., where he was pronounced dead. Amarsingh was 31. Since this spring he had worked for trainer John Kimmel.

Police arrested Michael Lutchman, a 43-year-old exercise rider for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, but as of Tuesday afternoon had not formally charged him. The charges will be made after consultation with the district attorney, said Det.-Sgt. Richard Laursen of the Nassau County homicide department. According to police, there was a verbal altercation between Amarsingh and Lutchman, which turned into a physical altercation, "at which time Michael took out a steak knife from his backpack and stabbed Dilip once in the chest," Laursen said.

Amarsingh and Lutchman were both natives of Trinidad.

According to a source, Lutchman was known to be confrontational and got into an argument with his barn foreman on Monday. Laursen said police were investigating whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the homicide.

Amarsingh's best year came in 2001 when he won 16 races from 181 mounts while riding mostly on the northern California circuit. Amarsingh had ridden in eight races this year.