Rick Dutrow in the 8th year of a 10 year ban imposed by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board filed an application to train in Kentucky where he previously enjoyed an unblemished career including a Kentucky Derby win with Big Brown. The hearing was done via video conference and Rick had this to say:
“The racetrack means everything to me and my family. It has really been a hard time with this, watching from afar and thinking: Man, I used to do that. Why am I not doing that? I have a hard time with that. So since I’ve been away, I have had the chance to reflect on things and look at myself. I know I’m part of the problem. There is no question about that, but I’ve done a lot of time for this. I just need the opportunity to train horses; that is all I want to do, all I’ve ever wanted to do. I’m sorry to take up your time with this, but I need to train horses. Please.”
The response was Dutrow was allowed to withdraw his application.
With all legal recourse in New York exhausted Dutrow’s attorney Karen Murphy, who was not his attorney during the early part of his fight appealed to Kentucky because their rules allow for discretion. Here is what Karen had to say on the record:
“I can’t tell you how disappointed I am, there was nothing persuasive in anything we provided to you?
“I will take that opportunity (to withdraw the application), but I don’t know what you want, what you considered, or what you found so unpersuasive that you take this action I find so profoundly disappointing. I’d like an answer. If you are allowing a withdrawal, then you are allowing the potential opportunity for resubmission. I need to hear what it is you found unpersuasive.”
“It became abundantly clear we were going nowhere in New York. Rick trained in Kentucky and trained with an unblemished record. When I found (Kentucky rules) were discretionary and given Rick’s positive history, it seemed the right move to make to let Kentucky get one of the greatest racehorse trainers back in operation.”
Dale Romans testified on Rick’s behalf. He said the following:
“We have an opportunity here to right a wrong by letting this man go back to work,” Romans said. “The most important thing to see is that the story does not seem like it could have happened or even been possible. One of the greatest horse trainers in the history of the game, in my opinion, (who) in 11 years had no catastrophic injuries, is being suspended and thrown off the racetrack.”
Dr. Larry Bramlage testified on Dutrow’s behalf as did former steward Steven Lewandowski who is already on record stating evidence in Dutrow’s case was planted.
None of it mattered in Kentucky. The final response was; “That is not a procedure we undertake.”
So the ban on Dutrow continues at least for now. The biggest scapegoat in racing watches from the sidelines while the sport continues to erode daily from what it once was and what it could be again. Selective justice is the equivalent of no justice. Scapegoating is the equivalent of far worse than that.