Dutrow appeals commission ruling

Updated: April 17, 2011, 1:35 PM ET
By Matt Hegarty | Daily Racing Form



LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The New York-based trainer Richard Dutrow has formally appealed the decision by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's Licensing Review Committee to deny him a license, according to a spokesman for the commission.

Dick Brown, the racing commission's communications director, said that Dutrow's attorney had filed the appeal on Friday. As a result, the commission will schedule a hearing within the next 30 days to reconsider the committee's decision on Wednesday to deny Dutrow a license after citing "misrepresentations" on his 2011 application and the trainer's long record of violations - 64 in total - over the last 15 years.

In the meantime, Dutrow, 52, will be prohibited from entering any horses in races held in Kentucky, Brown said, until he receives a license. Dutrow's annual license in Kentucky had expired before the decision to deny the license.

"He's still unlicensed," Brown said. "He can't enter a horse. His status has not changed with the commission."

Karen Murphy, the attorney who filed the appeal for Dutrow, did not return a phone call on Friday.

The appeal was the latest development in a string of legal maneuvers launched since the Wednesday decision revolving around the eligibility of two horses that Dutrow had entered in two Grade 1 stakes races at Keeneland before filing his license application. Because of the licensing committee's decision, the horses were expected to be scratched.

On Thursday, however, the owners of the horses obtained a temporary restraining order from a Kentucky court that directed the commission to allow the horses to start. Specifically, the order by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip J. Shepherd said that the owners would suffer "irreparable injury" if the horses were scratched, and he ordered that the owners be allowed to transfer the horses to an eligible trainer within the next 30 days.

That created a quandary for the racing commission, because the state's rules of racing are typically interpreted to mean that a horse must have the same trainer at the time of entry as at the time of the race. The commission had initially sought to obtain a hearing in appeals court seeking to overturn the order, but instead the commission reached out to the owners of the horses and struck an agreement that allowed the horses to start under the name of Justin Sallusto, a Pennsylvania-based trainer with ties to one of the common owners of both horses, IEAH Stables.

As a result, Amen Hallelujah was allowed to start in the Grade 1 Vinery Madison Stakes on Thursday -- even though Sallusto was not in Kentucky -- and Court Vision was allowed to start in Friday's Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile. Both were the morning-line favorites. Lisa Underwood, the executive director of the commission, said on Friday that the temporary restraining order encouraged the commission's legal department to take a second look at the rule requiring a horse to have the same trainer at entry as at post time.

"The judge said that they had to be able to switch trainers," Underwood said. "That assisted in the interpretation."

Added chief state steward John Veitch, also on Friday: "The rule implies [that a horse must have the same trainer]. But it doesn't plainly state it."

Brown said that the commission has dropped any efforts to overturn the temporary restraining order as a result of the agreement reached with the horses' owners allowing the horses to start under Sallusto's name.

"It's a moot point now," Brown said.

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