Trainer Dale Romans has launched a petition drive appealing to the New York State Gaming Commission to reinstate Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Rick Dutrow, who is serving a 10-year suspension handed to him in 2011.
Dutrow, 58, was suspended 10 years and fined $50,000 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board – which was replaced by the New York State Gaming Commission – for a string of suspensions and rules violations, the last being a positive drug test in one of his horses for butorphanol and the discovery of loaded syringes in a desk drawer in his barn office at Aqueduct. Regulators at the time called Dutrow's conduct “obnoxious” and “unbecoming.”
Dutrow lost his appeals of the penalties and eventually ran out of legal options. His last starter, Colossal Gift, was victorious at Aqueduct on Jan. 16, 2013. He has been away from the racetrack more than five years.
“The Board chose to make Rick an example at the time and in 2011 imposed a punishment of unprecedented severity,” Romans said in the Change.org petition. “For the past three years many of us in the industry have been working hard to get Rick back to the only job he has ever known. Since 2016, there have been THREE formal applications made to the Commission seeking to reopen the proceeding to reduce the unprecedented penalty imposed to ‘time served,' and to permit his immediate reinstatement as a licensed trainer.”
Dutrow, who according to Equibase saddled his first horse in 1979, has won 1,811 races from 7,204 starters and horses in his care have earned $87.5 million. Among his top runners are 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown and 2005 Breeders' Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year Saint Liam.
Last year, however, Dutrow filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. “I need to be back at the track to finish my life,” he said in a 2014 interview with NBC News.
“Rick paid the fine and he has devoted time to charity work involving retired racehorses in aid of children, veterans and patients in need,” the Romans petition states. “We need your voices and we need them now to tell the Commission that ‘Time served is enough!' Let's get Rick back before this year's Kentucky Derby a race he won in 2008.”
The petition has more than 500 signatures at this time.
To read and/or sign the petition, click here.
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