Trainer Rick Dutrow was suspended Tuesday for 30 days for violating doping rules. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission issued the suspension more than a year after tests revealed that Salute the Count had an excessive amount of Clenbuterol in his blood after finishing second in a race at Churchill Downs the day before Dutrow won the Kentucky Derby with Big Brown.
Clenbuterol allows horses to breathe easier while exercising. It's legal only at low dosages.
Besides imposing the 30-day suspension, the KHRC ordered Dutrow to return the purse money won by the horse. Churchill stewards proposed a 15-day ban, but the commission voted 6-5 for the harsher penalty.
KHRC Executive Director Lisa Underwood said it was warranted in part because the members felt Dutrow was dragging out the process.
"He flagrantly worked the system," Underwood said. "I think a lot of what was going through the commissioners' minds was to protect the integrity of racing. Frankly, it's offensive for the betting public to see trainers still out there who have a violation, who have admitted they have a violation."
Dutrow did not return a call by The Associated Press. His attorney, Frank Becker, represented him in the closed session and said afterward the case would probably be appealed to Franklin Circuit Court.
Dutrow has 10 days to file the appeal. He would not be able to train horses in any other state during a suspension.
Becker said he was puzzled as to why the commissioners increased the penalty.
"They didn't reveal it to us," he said.
Big Brown never violated a drug rule, but Dutrow was widely criticized when he acknowledged the horse had the then-legal steroid stanozolol in his bloodstream during his 2008 Derby and Preakness victories. Kentucky and most other states have since banned stanozolol and other anabolic steroids.
At the same meeting, the University of Florida lab that conducts Kentucky's drug testing presented a glowing report about Kentucky's adherence to new drug rules.
From March through May, there wasn't a single anabolic steroid violation detected in any Kentucky racehorse, said Rick Sams, director of the Florida racing lab.
Magna hearing postponed
A Wilmington, Del., bankruptcy judge agreed Tuesday to postpone until Aug. 18 a hearing on a hedge fund's request for the appointment of an examiner in horse track owner Magna Entertainment's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.