Otabek Umarov

Otabek Umarov

Courtesy of Otabek Umarov

Under Agreement, Trainer Umarov Suspended Five Years

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approves suspension of trainer Umarov.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Feb. 21 settled its case against Otabek Umarov, suspending the trainer for five years and fining him $5,000 in a case involving Umarov's refusal to allow an out-of-competition sample to be collected from Looks to Spare on April 30, 2016 at Churchill Downs.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the KHRC discussed the settlement in executive session before returning to open session, where it unanimously approved the settlement.

Umarov had been facing a license revocation of 10 years and fines of $10,000 after KHRC officials said the trainer removed Looks to Spare from the Churchill grounds to an undisclosed location after receiving notification the horse had been selected for out-of competition testing. He also faced charges of possession hypodermic needles, syringes, and injectable medications.

KHRC vice chairman John C. Roach read highlights of the agreement before the commission approved it.

"Mr. Umarov will be suspended five years commencing May 1, 2016 and ending April 30, 2021," Roach said. "If he wishes to apply for a license after the suspension, he'll be required to appear before the commission license review committee."

Umarov's attorney, Justin Fowles, said during the five-year absence the trainer will be dedicated to rebuilding the trust of regulators and racing fans.

"I fully accept my responsibility as a trainer to comply with the rules and standards set forth by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission," Umarov said in a release. "I understand that I violated one of those rules by failing to completely cooperate with the commission, and I accept the terms of my suspension."

Umarov had appealed the case to a Kentucky administrative hearing officer after the stewards issued him a 10-year license suspension. In August, Umarov dropped an appeal requesting a stay of the suspension while a hearing officer considered the case. 

On the hypodermic needles offense, he received a 60-day suspension that will run concurrently with the five year suspension. KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil said the agreement upholds industry standards.

"The rules and regulations of the Commission are in place for the betterment of the equine industry and to protect the safety of the animals," Guilfoil said.  "It is our job to uphold the high standards of our industry and initiate disciplinary action when those standards are violated."