The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission voted March 13 to accept a hearing officer's recommendation upholding the regulatory body's decision to deny trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. a license for 2011.
Dutrow, a successful but controversial trainer who won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with Big Brown , has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block a 10-year suspension handed out by New York regulators.
The Kentucky license rejection came after Dutrow told the license review committee he had submitted information on previous Kentucky license applications that was erroneous, that he had continued to train horses while suspended in other racing jurisdictions, that he submitted a false workout report on a horse he trained, and that he allowed horses he was training to be entered by other trainers while he was serving suspensions.
Among many other contentions, Dutrow's attorney said during the hearing conducted by hearing officer Robert Layton that the license review committee erred by not permitting the trainer to withdraw his application after it was rejected by the regulatory body and that the license should be approved because the KHRC had previously licensed Dutrow even though there was false information on the applications.
Also, Dutrow contended the false license applications should be not held against the trainer because the documents were completed by others on his behalf.
At the time of his license application denial, Dutrow had already entered horses to run at Keeneland.
"Dutrow has failed to present any proof in support of his appeal for any of the multiple bases for his license denial," Layton wrote in his report. "In fact, the proof is that Dutrow does not factually contest any of the basis, but asserts the commission shouldn't be able to use those to deny his license. Some of the basis for the commission's denial of his license are among the most potentially destructive to his honesty and reputation, including the stunning admissions by Dutrow that he not only continued to train Wild Desert while under suspension, but that he fraudulently had a fake workout for Wild Desert while under suspension.
"Such falsified reported workouts are a danger to the integrity of the wagering public in horse racing, and such conduct is a quite appropriate basis for the commission to deny a trainer's license, although far from the only basis."
Layton noted "Dutrow showed blatant disregard for the rules of racing" when he told the license review committee he would have entered his horses at Keeneland in April 2011 under a different name had he known he would not receive a license in the Bluegrass state.
In response to Layton's recommendations and report, Dutrow's attorney, Adam Spease, reiterated many of the objections that were part of the trainer's appeal.
"Accordingly, complainant respectfully requests that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, as the final decision maker in this matter, determine to grant complainant's request for relief and grant complainant's 2011 license application and/or allow complainant to withdraw his 2011 license application," Spease wrote.
Since Dutrow's 10-year suspension is applicable not only in New York but precludes him from training in other states, the Kentucky regulatory action is moot. The license denial, however, could be important if Dutrow were to be reinstated through his federal lawsuit and/or if he attempted to obtain a license in Kentucky in the future.
Also during the routine March 13 meeting, the KHRC heard a report that the $22.5 million wagered in historic races conducted electronically at Kentucky Downs in February was the largest for any month since the new form of gaming began in fall 2011.
The commission also expressed concern over the two racing-related fatalities at Turfway Park during eight days of live racing in February.
Equine medical director Dr. Mary Scollay said there was not a specific cause of the catastrophic injuries.