Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Rick Dutrow has filed a federal lawsuit this week in US District Court in Brooklyn to try and overturn his 10-year ban from racing in New York after unsuccessful attempts to appeal the license revocation in state courts. The punishment was put on hold until the New York Court of Appeals in January declined to hear his latest appeal for drug violations. In October, that same court rejected his constitutional claim that his rights to a fair proceeding were violated by the appearance of bias by racing board chairman John Sabini. Sabini was also an officer of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which advocated revoking Dutrow's license.
The action was issued in 2011 after the three-member state board cited infractions including following post-race testing at Aqueduct which found that Fastus Cactus had been given butorphanol (a banned painkiller) on November 20th, and the discovery of three hypodermic needles that were unlabeled but contained the drug xyzaline during a barn search on Nov. 3.
In addition, Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, sent a letter to the board at the time citing that “Dutrow had 64 rule violation in nine different states at 15 different tracks.since 1979.”
"Any and every horse Dutrow becomes involved with during the 10 years his license is revoked ... disqualifies the horse from any racetrack throughout New York state," the civil court complaint says. "The order, in effect, also acts as a prohibition against Dutrow associating with any individuals who use the racetracks of New York state, including his family, who are connected to the racetracks."
Dutrow, however, maintains that “racing officials engaged in wrongful and malicious actions” against him. He's seeking $10 million in damages for lost earnings, punitive damages and an order lifting the ban.
Best known for training 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown,ESPN reports that Dutrow recently tied for the training title with 110 victories at Aqueduct, his fourth title at the track where his stable is based. It was the ninth time in the last 10 years he was the leading or second-leading trainer.