Co-owner Iavarone: Patience with trainer Dutrow growing thin

Updated: June 30, 2008, 6:16 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Mike Iavarone, the co-owner of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, told ESPN's Jeannine Edwards on Monday that his patience with his somewhat flippant trainer, Rick Dutrow, is growing thin.

Rick Dutrow
AP Photo/Ed BetzBig Brown trainer Rick Dutrow is "on a short leash" after he was quoted saying what IEAH co-president Michael Iavarone felt were "some offensive things," during Friday's press conference.

Citing Dutrow's handling of last Wednesday's revelation of a drug overage in one of his horses, and then Dutrow's news conference on Friday when he was quoted as saying what Iavarone felt were "some offensive things," Iavarone told Edwards the trainer is now "on a short leash."

This assessment comes despite Iavarone's praise for Dutrow's astute horsemanship skills after the Dutrow-trained 40-1 shot Frost Giant won Saturday's Grade 1 Suburban Handicap at Belmont.

Dutrow was given a 15-day suspension by Kentucky racing officials because a horse he trains -- Salute the Count -- was found to have an excessive amount of the legal drug Clenbuterol after finishing second in the Aegon Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on May 2, a day before Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby. The drug allows horses to breathe easier while exercising.

"It's my responsibility, but it's not my fault," Dutrow said outside barn 10 at Aqueduct Racetrack last Friday. "It's just a mistake that happened but it's not as big a deal as everyone is trying to make it out to be.

"I'm just getting flooded with everybody calling me all the time with negative stuff. I wish it would all stop."

Dutrow eventually will serve the suspension, he said, but by filing his appeal Friday he can continue preparing Big Brown and several other top horses for upcoming stake races.

"Since everyone is giving me the opportunity to appeal it, and postpone it, that's what I'm going to be doing until I can't postpone it any more," Dutrow said, adding that he hopes Big Brown could run in both the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 3 and the Travers Stakes on Aug. 23.

Dutrow's suspension didn't sit well with IEAH Stables, Big Brown's majority owner. IEAH co-president Iavarone recently announced that all of his stables' horses will run drug-free beginning Oct. 1.

Dutrow apologized to Iavarone, and said IEAH is still behind him "1 million percent."

Dutrow was his usual chatty self last Friday for the first time since the day before the Belmont. He also said he supports a uniform national medication policy and explained why he didn't go to Washington D.C., for a recent hearing on horse safety.

"If every state would have the same rules, I would love it. If everything is the same playing field, we're going to do as good, if not better, than everybody."

"I know they wanted me to go down to Washington to ask me a bunch of questions. I wasn't feeling on top of my game. If I had a gun to my head, I would have went. But no one put a gun to my head.

"Now, they wanted to talk about breakdowns," he continued. "Now everyone looks at me as I'm a drug kind of guy. If you're a drug kind of guy, you're going to go out there and watch your horses break down. I want anybody here to tell the last time they've seen one of my horses break down in the afternoon.

"You're not going to be able to find it because I'm safe, I'm sound. I protect my horses. I remember Lake Pontchartrain broke down in Boston eight or nine years ago and I can't remember another time one of my horses broke down in the afternoon and that has to count for something."

Calls to Dutrow for comment Monday were not returned, and he has stated he's sworn off interviews for a while.

ESPN's Jeannine Edwards and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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