Horses: Dutrow faces ban
LOUISVILLE, Ky. ó Rick Dutrow is in trouble again.
The outspoken trainer of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown is facing a 15-day suspension by Kentucky racing officials after another horse he trains exceeded the allowable limit for a drug that enables horses to breathe easier while exercising.
Two separate drug tests on 8-year-old gelding Salute the Count revealed the horse had twice the allowable limit of Clenbuterol in his system after finishing second in the Aegon Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on May 2, said John Veitch, chief state steward of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.
Clenbuterol, considered a Class B drug by the KHRA, is often used by humans who suffer from asthma. The drug, which Veitch said contains some steroidal properties but is not considered a steroid, is sometimes used by trainers because of it’s ability to increase a horse’s lung capacity.
“It’s a respiratory enhancer,” Veitch said. “It’s become quite popular in racing medication because it’s used to train on.”
The drug is not permitted in racing, but is regulated by the states through the use of a threshold concentration said Scot Waterman, executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. Trainers are recommended to avoid giving a dosage to a horse 72-96 hours before heading to the starting gate, though the threshold level varies from state to state.
Dutrow waived his right to a hearing but plans to file a written appeal, which he must do within the next 10 days. There is no timetable on when Dutrow could meet with KHRA executive director Lisa Underwood, Veitch said.
“He will get a stay on his suspension until the appeal is heard,” Veitch said.
Dutrow said he sometimes uses the drug in other horses and was previously reprimanded by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for a similar infraction several years ago.
“I really haven’t had any problems with it,” Dutrow said in a phone interview.
The first positive test was conducted by a lab at Iowa State University. Dutrow requested a second test, which was conducted by a lab at Louisiana State University. That test also came back positive.
Dutrow raced four horses during Churchill Downs’ spring meet, the last on May 17. He does not currently have any horses at the track.
As part of the penalty, Salute the Count owners Michael Dubb and Robert Joscelyn must return $24,521 in purse money. On June 15, the horse finished second to First Defence in the Jaipur Stakes at Belmont Park. Drug test results from that race are not yet available said Dan Toomey with the New York State Racing & Wagering Board.
The penalty is the first for Dutrow in Kentucky, though hardly the first time he’s run into trouble. He spoke openly about his checkered past during Big Brown’s run at the Triple Crown. He’s been cited dozens of times over the years for everything from repeated medication violations to his own drug use.
The news of the possible suspension comes just days after IEAH Stables, co-owners of Big Brown, stepped forward and said it would take all of its horses off steroids entirely and shy away from trainers who continue to use the drugs to maintain their horses.
“If they don’t want to play by the rules, then they don’t get to train with us,” Michael Iavarone, co-president of IEAH, said.