Thoroughbred Trainer's Trial Focuses on Syringes' Discovery

The discovery by a New York State Racing and Wagering Board (NYSRWB) official of a box containing three syringes and needles in Rick Dutrow's barn at Aqueduct was the focus during the second day of a hearing in Schenectady that could result in the trainer losing his license, the Albany Times Union reported June 2.

Joel Leveson, the director of investigations for NYSRWB, testified that the syringes, which later were found to contain the sedative xylazine, were discovered last November during a training exercise designed to teach two New York Racing Association investigators how to do a barn search. Dutrow wasn't present when the search took place.

Veterinarians are the only people authorized to use syringes at New York tracks, the newspaper's article said. According to the Times Union, Leveson said during his testimony that when he spoke to Dutrow "10 days or two weeks later" the trainer told him he "didn't have any knowledge of the box of syringes. He said he had had no idea why that particular drug was in his barn because he didn't use it."

When cross-examined by Dutrow's lawyer, Michael Koenig, Levenson said he didn't contact Dutrow's veterinarians, which the trainer suggested he do.

According to The Saratogian, Koenig said there was at least one report indicating the syringes might have accompanied some horses that were shipped from Kentucky. Levinson said he didn’t check the validity of the story.

In addition, The Saratogian reported that the head of New York's equine drug testing program, Dr. George Maylin, testified in connection with another incident last November that involved one of Dutrow's trainees, Fastus Cactus, testing positive for the painkiller butorphanol. Maylin said, according to The Saratogian, that "the drug may or may not have affected the horse's racing performance and that there was no positive way of determining if it was administered outside the legal timeframe, less than 96 hours before a race."

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