Rick Dutrow

Rick Dutrow

Mathea Kelley

Federal Judge Dismisses Dutrow Lawsuit

Trainer who won Kentucky Derby with Big Brown had license revoked for 10 years.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. against the New York State Gaming Commission, the Association of Racing Commissioners International, and two New York regulators.

Dutrow, who had his license revoked for 10 years by the New York regulatory board, filed the suit against the New York State Racing and Wagering Board (predecessor to the Gaming Commission), John Sabini, who had served as chairman of the NYSRWB and RCI (as well as in other RCI roles); and NYSRWB members Daniel Hogan and Charles Diamond.

In the legal action, Dutrow, who trained Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Big Brown , alleged that the NYSRWB's decision to revoke his license violated his federal rights to due process.

In the July 29 ruling, U.S. District Judge Sandra L. Townes said the federal court lacked jurisdiction over the suit and that it was a case for state courts except when shown that the plaintiff's constitutional rights have been violated.

The case began when the NYSRWB imposed a 90-day suspension against Dutrow on Feb. 16, 2011. The suspension was stayed pending Dutrow's appeal. On Feb. 17, RCI president Ed Martin alerted Sabini to criticism from a government official that the disciplinary action was too lenient, according to the court record.

RCI officers and members then approved a plan to petition the NYSRWB to review Dutrow's training license "to determine his suitability to continue his participation in horseracing."

Also, RCI sent a letter to the NYSRWB urging the regulators to review Dutrow's training license and to show cause why it should not be revoked.

"I formally request the board to commence a proceeding and issue a notice to show cause as to why his license should not be revoked given what appears to be a lifetime pattern of disregard for the rules of racing," the letter from Martin stated.

RCI is an organization of state regulators that helps shape model rules to encourage consistency across all the racing states.

Dutrow contended RCI should not have influenced the New York regulators' decision and that Sabini's roles with the NYSRWB and RCI denied the trainer his due process.

Dutrow's license revocation took effect in early 2013 when he filed the federal suit.