After a day of legal maneuvering, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s denial of a license to trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., remained in effect but a horse he had entered in a stakes race at Keeneland on April 15 will be permitted to run in a different trainer’s name.
On April 14, attorneys representing part-owners of Amen Hallelujah obtained a court order enjoining the commission from enforcing its decision earlier in the week not to issue a license to Dutrow, a New York-based trainer with a long list of rules infractions. Amen Hallelujah finished second in the April 14 Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, with Justin Sallusto listed as the trainer of record.
Sallusto was named trainer for Amen Hallelujah just minutes before the Madison after officials of the KHRC met to determine how to rectify the situation. Earlier, the commission had filed an appeal of the order issued by Judge Philip Shepherd in which he effectively determined that Dutrow be listed as trainer of Amen Hallelujah and Court Vision , who is entered in the April 15 Maker’s Mark Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland.
“The commission is temporarily enjoined from enforcing its order denying the 2011 trainers’ license to Richard Dutrow, for purposes of racing in the Keeneland Race Course meet currently underway, and specifically, the 8th race on April 14, 2011,” the order stated. “The plaintiff may designate an alternative trainer within 30 days of the entry of this order, who shall have or obtain a license under KRS Chapter 230 for 2011, and who shall undertake full regulatory accountability for any race in which a horse owned by the plaintiff may run that is under the jurisdiction of the Commission, pursuant to this order.”
The decision to have Sallusto listed as the trainer of the two horses effectively made Shepherd’s ruling and the KHRC’s appeal of it moot.
All of the legal actions resulted from the April 13 decision by the KHRC’s license review committee to not issue a license to Dutrow. The action came after a one-hour hearing before the committee in which Dutrow was questioned about the lengthy list of violations on his record and inconsistencies on his license applications this year and in previous years. Attorneys for Dutrow have appealed the committee’s decision to the full commission.
Following the license review committee’s decision, Dutrow was informed that Amen Hallelujah and Court Vision would likely be scratched by Kentucky stewards since they had been entered to race in the name of Dutrow, who was not licensed.
A visibly upset Dutrow complained that the decision to not issue him a license was not fair to the owners and questioned why he was allowed to enter the horses.
The KHRC notified Dutrow in late March that before he would have to appear before the license review committee before his application for a license could be considered. The license review committee then set the April 13 date for the hearing.
An attorney representing Dutrow submitted the trainer’s license application on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 12, one day before the scheduled hearing.
“As Judge Shepherd noted in his decision, this action by the Franklin Circuit Court was necessary in order to prevent immediate and irreparable injury to our client, which spent a considerable amount of money to fly this horse to Kentucky for this race without any advance notice that the Commission might consider such drastic action against Mr. Dutrow during the meet,” attorney Joe Childers of the Lexington firm Getty & Childers, said in a statement following the judge’s ruling. “This will maintain the status quo and not penalize our client, the horse’s owner, because of the 11th hour action taken against the trainer of Amen Hallelujah.”