06/04/2008 11:00PM

Vicki Dutrow all in, too; Rick's mom expects win


ELMONT, N.Y. - Big Brown's victory in the Kentucky Derby was little more than an hour old when the connections were feted by Kentucky's governor in the Derby Museum. Among those at the celebration was Vicki Dutrow, the 68-year-old mother of trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.

"You know we're going to win the Triple Crown," Vicki said to a small group of reporters.

When told what his mother said, Dutrow said, "Make sure you write that she said that, not me."

Five weeks later, Vicki Dutrow can't believe that the second of her three sons is on the verge of making racing history by perhaps training just the second undefeated Triple Crown winner.

"We've been in this business for so long, I never thought that this would ever happen, never," said Vicki Dutrow, whose late husband Richard Dutrow Sr. ranks as the 13th-leading trainer in wins all-time. "This thing snuck up on us so fast. I couldn't be happier for the boys. This is what it's all about."

In the topsy-turvy world that has been Richard Dutrow Jr.'s life, Vicki Dutrow has been the one constant. She supported not only Rick, but her other sons, Tony and Chip, in their quest to follow in their father's footsteps. Tony Dutrow is a successful trainer on the Mid-Atlantic circuit, with more than 1,000 wins. Chip has worked with both of his brothers and is considering opening his own stable at Delaware Park.

Dick Dutrow was a legend on the Maryland circuit in the 1960s and 1970s competing with the likes of King Leatherbury, John Tammaro, and Bud Delp. Dutrow won 3,665 races and conditioned the likes of King's Swan and Lite the Fuse, and was the trainer of the champion Flawlessly during her 2-year-old season.

Dick Dutrow died in 1999 from cancer.

By that time, Richard Dutrow Jr. had been in and out of trouble so many times that his father and he had no relationship. The younger Dutrow's lifestyle, which included a penchant for drugs as well as a relationship with a woman his father did not like, had created a rift between he and his dad.

"Dickie was really a tough dad," said Vicki Dutrow, who added that her son's success would have been "hard for Dickie to handle."

During Big Brown's Triple Crown run, Vicki Dutrow came to find out just how bad her son's drug problems were.

"I just found out about a week ago how bad it really was, I did not see what I was told," Vicki Dutrow said. "I knew Ricky did drugs, but I didn't now how bad it was and what it was doing."

Vicki Dutrow said she attempted to have talks with her son about his life while he was growing up, but they did not help. So instead, she would leave him little notes. Her son does not remember what they said.

"I was all wiped out then," he said. "She's a good lady, though, she's one of the best."

Perhaps the biggest debt of gratitude Richard Dutrow Jr. owes his mother is for helping to raise his daughter Molly. Molly's mother, Sheryl "Denise" Toyloy, was murdered in her upstate New York apartment in a drug-related incident. Vicki Dutrow raised Molly in her Highlands, Md., home for many years. Molly, 13, now lives in Long Island with her dad.

"It wasn't hard until about nine months ago," Vicki Dutrow said about raising Molly. "I am telling you the truth. Twelve going on 13 - yeah, I'm done."

On Saturday, Vicki Dutrow and her sons Chip and Tony and the rest of the family will be at Belmont Park to support Rick's quest to win the Triple Crown. Tony Dutrow sums up the family's feelings entering the day.

"My mom, who knows very little [about racing], her attitude is we got the best horse, we're going to win," he said. "Chippy is cautiously excited, knows how hard this is to get done, but also is very aware that Big Brown has a great chance. Me, I get more afraid every day because I realize how many great ones and how many really good ones have been in this situation and have not got it done."