04/10/2013 3:51PM

Rodriguez faces review by Kentucky licensing committee

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez has been ordered to appear before the Kentucky Licensing Review Committee.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rudy Rodriguez, trainer of Kentucky Derby contender Vyjack, has been ordered to appear before Kentucky’s state licensing committee next week as a condition of obtaining a license in the state, according to the chairman of the committee.

Burr Travis, chairman of the Licensing Review Committee, said Wednesday that licensing office personnel asked the full committee to review Rodriguez’s application at its upcoming April 16 meeting, citing a recent suspension that Rodriguez served for two overages of the painkiller flunixin. The licensing office also sent over several other licenses for full review as well, Travis said.

“There have been some prior rulings, recent penalties for him,” Travis, an attorney, said. “This is a Derby horse, and he’s never been licensed in Kentucky, ever. This really isn’t that unusual at all for us to do that.”

Karen Murphy, Rodriguez’s attorney, said Wednesday that she has not yet seen the letter that has ordered the trainer to appear before the committee, despite requesting a copy of it Tuesday. She said she wanted to limit her comments about the order until seeing the letter, but she also said she asked commission personnel whether the committee also was calling every other Derby trainer in for a review.

“I want to understand why Rudy is being singled out,” Murphy said. “Every single trainer in that race has some medication history, a lot of them worse than two trace levels of [flunixin], which are just accidents.”

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Rodriguez, who was notified of another positive for flunixin last week, is a former exercise rider for Richard Dutrow Jr., the controversial trainer who began serving a 10-year suspension earlier this year after exhausting his appeals at the state level. Dutrow’s suspension, issued in New York, was first levied in late 2010, when Rodriguez began training on his own.

In 2011, Kentucky’s Licensing Review Committee denied Dutrow’s application for a license in the state, a decision that limited Dutrow’s ability to renew his license in other states and limited the places where he could start a horse while he appealed his suspension.

Vyjack finished third in the Wood Memorial last weekend at Aqueduct, his first loss in five career starts. He has 70 points under the new Kentucky Derby qualifying system, good for sixth on the overall list.