Trainer Rick Dutrow is expected to file a legal appeal of his suspension Jan. 16, officials with New York state say, a day before state regulators are due to officially revoke his license to train in the state for at least 10 years.
Dutrow, who still has one procedural step he could take in state court after losing two rounds before the state’s highest court, has been eyeing an appeal in federal court. He told The Blood Horse last week he would not rest until all his legal avenues are exhausted (click here).
Michael Koenig, Dutrow’s lawyer, has not returned calls or e-mails seeking comment so it is not certain if the appeal will happen or in which court. Dutrow said last week Koenig would not handle his case if the matter goes to federal court, but that the Albany lawyer would oversee his overall legal strategy if the federal appeal is made.
State officials involved in the legal case, speaking on condition of anonymity, said tonight they expect the appeal to come Jan. 16. One possible venue is a federal court in Brooklyn.
A mandatory five-day waiting period for the suspension to be put into effect – which kicked in when the state attorney general’s office notified the state Racing and Wagering Board that the state had won its case last week against Dutrow before the state’s highest court -- expires Jan. 17.
A spokesman for the racing board said the agency is set to serve those suspension papers – plus a $50,000 fine – immediately Jan. 17. The only thing that might halt that is if Dutrow’s lawyer get another stay from a judge while their legal arguments are considered.
“I was born in this game. I’m not going to stop. There’s no way in the world. They’re going to have to take me out in handcuffs. I will keep going out there until they take me off,’’ Dutrow said in an interview last week.
In October of 2011, New York regulators stripped Dutrow of his license for 10 years and fined him $50,000 for what they called a pattern of license abuses over the years in New York and elsewhere. Originally, Dutrow was hit with a 90-day suspension after officials found the painkiller butorphanol in a urine sample from Fastus Cactus, who finished last in the third race Nov. 20, 2010, at Aqueduct Racetrack. There was a subsequent discovery of hypodermic needles in a Dutrow barn.
The NYSRWB later increased the penalty to a full revocation of his license, saying Dutrow is a "person whose conduct at racetracks in New York State and elsewhere has been improper, obnoxious, unbecoming, and detrimental to the best interests of racing."
Dutrow has denied any wrongdoing.