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Horse trainer Rick Dutrow sues to reverse ban on racing in New York

February 27, 2013|By Houston Mitchell
  • Thoroughbred trainer Rick Dutrow is currently serving a 10-year ban from racing in New York.
Thoroughbred trainer Rick Dutrow is currently serving a 10-year ban from… (Garry Jones / Associated…)

Rick Dutrow, who trained Big Brown to Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes wins in 2008, has filed a federal lawsuit seekng to overturn his 10-year ban from thoroughbred racing in New York for drug violations.

The lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn, says Dutrow has been “irreparably harmed” by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. He wants $10 million in damages for lost earnings, punitive damages and an order lifting the ban.

“Any and every horse Dutrow becomes involved with during the 10 years his license is revoked … disqualifies the horse from any racetrack throughout New York state,” the civil court complaint says. “The order, in effect, also acts as a prohibition against Dutrow associating with any individuals who use the racetracks of New York state, including his family, who are connected to the racetracks.”

Lee Park, a spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission, the agency that succeeded the racing board, said the commission hadn't been served with legal papers and declined to comment.

The three-member horse racing board, in handing down the suspension in October 2011, cited infractions including syringes containing an analgesic and a sedative found in Dutrow's desk and an analgesic found in the urine of his horse Fastus Cactus in November 2010 after it won at Aqueduct Racetrack. The board also fined him $50,000.

Dutrow told a hearing officer he didn't know how the syringes got into his desk. A blood test of Fastus Cactus didn't show any of the analgesic, and Dutrow's expert witness theorized that the urine test may have been contaminated. When the ban was announced, racing board Chairman John Sabini said Dutrow's repeated violations and disregard for racing rules “eroded confidence in the betting public and caused an embarrassment throughout the industry.”

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