A judge has issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission from enforcing a license denial to trainer Rick Dutrow so that the horse Amen Hallelujah can compete in the April 14 Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
The order by Franklin (Kentucky) Circuit Judge Philip Shepherd came at noon April 14, about five hours before the post of the Vinery Madison. The order was in response to a legal action brought earlier April 14 by Whizway Farms, who owns half-interest in Amen Hallelujah.
There was a strong likelihood that Amen Halelujah and Court Vision , who is entered in the April 15 Maker’s Mark Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland on April 15, would have been scratched as a result of the April 13 action by the KHRC’s license review committee to deny Dutrow a Kentucky license for 2011.
“As Judge Shepherd noted in his decision, this action by the Franklin Circuit Court was necessary in order to prevent immediate and irreparable injury to our client, which spent a considerable amount of money
to fly this horse to Kentucky for this race without any advance notice that the Commission might consider such drastic action against Mr. Dutrow during the meet,” said attorney Joe Childers of the Lexington firm Getty & Childers. “This will maintain the status quo and not penalize our client, the horse’s owner, because of the 11th hour action taken against the trainer of Amen Hallelujah.”
Earlier on April 14, an attorney representing Dutrow had also filed an appeal of the commission order.
Based on the wording of Shepherd’s ruling, it also likely would permit Dutrow-trained Court Vision to run in the Maker's Mark Mile.
“The commission is temporarily enjoined from enforcing its order denying the 2011 trainers’ license to Richard Dutrow, for purposes of racing in the Keeneland Race Course meet currently underway, and specifically, the 8th race on April 14, 2011,” the order stated. “The plaintiff may designate an alternative trainer within 30 days of the entry of this order, who shall have or obtain a license under KRS Chapter 230 for 2011, and who shall undertake full regulatory accountability for any race in which a horse owned by the plaintiff may run that is under the jurisdiction of the Commission, pursuant to this order.”