Franklin, Ky. Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd granted sanctioned owner/trainer Otabek Umarov a stay in his 10-year suspension June 23, until an administrative hearing is conducted or until the court can rule on a motion for a temporary injunction.
The stay allows Umarov to train while the administrative appeal process is concluded. However, in a separate action brought by Churchill Downs—not the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission—Umarov has been banned from the Louisville, Ky. track.
Umarov was suspended for 10 years by the KHRC after he refused to allow out-of-competition testing on one of his horses—stakes winner Looks to Spare—April 30 at Churchill. The stewards issued a 10-year suspension and $10,000 fine for violations of out-of-competition testing rules and possession of hypodermic needles.
In issuing the restraining order, Judge Shepherd noted the imposition of a penalty before completion of the appeal process would inflict immediate and irreparable injury on the plaintiff. He further noted the commission would retain the ability to regulate Umarov’s conduct during this time.
The court also noted that in requesting the stay, Umarov’s attorney Justin Fowles raised a substantial factual question concerning whether non-compliance with KHRC directives were knowing defiance of an order or the result of miscommunication. The court also said the plaintiff brought up a substantial legal question regarding the severity of the penalty.