05/18/2016 3:22PM

Trainer Umarov ejected from Churchill Downs, suspended

Coady Photography
Trainer Otabek Umarov

Otabek Umarov, the owner and trainer of Looks to Spare, the longshot third-place finisher in last year’s Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs after a rapid rise through the claiming ranks, has been ejected from Churchill and suspended by state stewards, according to rulings and local officials.

Umarov, who has started 17 horses this year, most of them at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, was ejected on May 2 from Churchill, according to a ruling signed by the state stewards. The stewards then issued a suspension of Umarov the following day, though the ruling does not state the grounds for his suspension aside from the ejection. Under the suspension, Umarov has been denied access to any licensed racing or training facility in Kentucky.

Barbara Borden, Kentucky’s chief steward, said on Wednesday that she could not comment on the reason the stewards levied the suspension, though she said Umarov is “facing a pending allegation of a violation” that is still under investigation. When asked if stewards automatically issue suspensions of licensees who have been ejected from racetracks, she said stewards have “discretion,” but that the ejection can be treated as grounds for the ban.

“It happens fairly often,” Borden said.

The suspension will prevent Umarov from starting horses in other jurisdictions while the case is being adjudicated, which is not automatically the case when an ejection is issued by a private company like Churchill Downs.

Umarov was suspended for two months and fined $1,000 last year in Illinois after a horse he trained tested positive for ractopamine, a feed additive that is in a class of drugs that can build muscle mass when used regularly. He was also fined $250 in Illinois last year for an overage of the regulated painkiller flunixin and was fined $500 in California in 2014 for “disorderly conduct/fighting,” according to a database of official rulings.

It is not clear why Churchill ejected the trainer, nor is it known how many horses Umarov had at Churchill Downs. Churchill Downs officials would not comment aside from confirming the ejection while referring questions to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Umarov is little-known in the racing world aside from Looks to Spare, who finished third in the Clark at odds of 88.50-1 and won the $200,000 West Virginia Governor's Stakes last August at Mountaineer Park at odds of 74.30-1. 

He claimed Looks to Spare for $5,000 in a race at Hawthorne in April. The gelding was 5 years old at the time.

Though the Clark finish was his best performance, Looks to Spare has started in four consecutive graded stakes going back to the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 30 at Belmont Park, where the horse started under trainer Gregory DiPrima because of Umarov’s Illinois suspension. The gelding most recently finished ninth in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap on March 19 at Oaklawn Park following a four-month break.

DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
As customers of CDI it would be nice to clearly state to your patrons why an action has taken place.  We know it is an uphill battle gambling these days but gamblers do like transparency. If the man's actions were serious enough to warrant barring then they are important enough for your customers to know. CDI has a poor recent track record in customer relations. We know the list; high takeout, bad treatment of ex-jocks at Derby, totally tone deaf and  throw in a Casino first mind set. Please have John Asher step up to the mike in Louisville explaining it succinctly with no holds barred. If Umarov feels his name has been slandered or wronged he can sue. CDI has a full staff of legal suits in the bullpen. Better yet Mr. Umarov just go East young man to PARX. How about a three horse race with Preciado, Navarro and Umarov. Who you got in that one?
CVFPartnerships More than 1 year ago
Poor recent record in customer relations? That would be one of the biggest understatements of the year. As Indian Charlie says about CDI, "we're not satisfied until you're not satisfied."
Robert Clayton More than 1 year ago
I dont really know what's up here, in many cases if they don't give a reason then you can't fight it, they exercise the right of private enterprise law to exclude you, no reason necessary.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Good idea to ban him right now before he becomes too big to eject. Like some others out there. Would be nice to let the public in on what he has done.though I think we know already.
Rick Marciniak More than 1 year ago
Seems like Bettors always get the Joan Collins Special after the fact. Results are official for the bettors and then owners/trainers have to return purses. 
tbhandicappers More than 1 year ago
Why all the secrecy?
Larry Kaufman More than 1 year ago
the clark was not his best performance you failed to mention this 5,000 claimer won the 200,000 west virginia gov cup and paid 150.60 to win. and you wonder why the sport is dying. keep covering up all the juicers
Sheldon Glass More than 1 year ago
The article DID mention it, just sayin
Larry Kaufman More than 1 year ago
they added that after i sent a tweet to matt hagerty
Bill Davis More than 1 year ago
Larry, you missed part of the article - and won the $200,000 West Virginia Governor's Stakes last August at Mountaineer Park at odds of 74.30-1. 
Larry Kaufman More than 1 year ago
they added that after i tweeted matt hegarty
Eleanor Sniegowski More than 1 year ago
This guy must have some putin nuclear juice looking how his horses jumped up in beyer numbers.