KHRC Committee Denies Trainer Dutrow's License

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's (KHRC) license review committee voted unanimously April 13 to not issue a trainer's license for the state of Kentucky to trainer Rick Dutrow, who trained 2008 Triple Crown hopeful Big Brown. The KHRC cited numerous drug-related offenses as a contributing factor in denying the license.

Dutrow, who was not represented by legal counsel at the hearing, said most of the drug-related offenses on his record were due to overages of therapeutic medications. In the instances of the two most significant violations, for illegal medications for which the horses tested positive, Dutrow said neither he nor his staff were aware of how the medications could have been in the horses' systems during the post-race tests.

Dutrow is also facing an upcoming hearing in New York over two suspensions: one for 60 days and the other for 30 days. Both suspensions are for drug-related offenses.

The action came after a one-hour hearing before the committee in which Dutrow was questioned about the lengthy list of violations on his record and inconsistencies on his license applications this year and in previous years. Dutrow could appeal the decision to the full commission or file a motion in Franklin Circuit Court. The trainer said he did not know if the Kentucky decision would affect his ability to train in other states that have reciprocity agreements.

Dutrow entered two horses in Keeneland stakes that will have to be scratched. License review committee chairman Burr Travis informed Dutrow that he will have to work out a plan with stewards to transfer horses from his stable in Kentucky to other trainers.

Following the decision, a visibly upset Dutrow complained that the committee's decision was unfair to the owners of the horses that will be scratched. He said when he entered the horses he should have been informed that he probably would be denied a license at the hearing.

Director of licensing Chris Clark responded that the stewards can allow a trainer to enter a horse pending a license being issued. But Travis said being able to enter and then not being licensed to start the horses was a different matter.

Travis said the committee could not have told Dutrow in advance of the hearing that he would not be granted a license. "Frankly, it could have gone either way," Travis said of the committee's action.

About the Author

Ron Mitchell/The Horse

Ron Mitchell is Online Managing Editor for The Blood-Horse magazine. A Lexington native, Mitchell joined The Blood-Horse after serving in editorial capacities with The Thoroughbred Record and Thoroughbred Times, specializing in business and auction aspects of the industry, and was editor-in-chief of the award-winning Horsemen’s Journal. As online managing editor, Mitchell works closely with The Blood-Horse news editor and other departments to make sure the website content is the most thorough and accurate source for all Thoroughbred news, results, videos, and data.

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