Horse trainer Rick Dutrow is battling critics again. This time it’s the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, which is pressing a case against Dutrow involving a drug present in one of his horses that finished second in a race at Churchill Downs in early May.
The horse is Salute the Count and the drug is clenbuterol. The dug is legal at certain levels and it helps horses breathe easier when they exercise.
So the issue is at what level the drug was present in Salute the Count and the Kentucky racing commission’s own hearing officer has said there was not enough evidence to discipline Dutrow because it was not clear that the drug was above the legal limit. But the commission executive director said she intends to challenge the hearing officer’s finding.
Meanwhile, Dutrow is being Dutrow .
“I just told these guys, ‘I don't care what you do, but I don't want any days (in a suspension) before Breeders' Cup,’” Dutrow was quoted as regarding the Salute the Count case. “My lawyers looked into it. They called me and said, ‘Rick, we can beat this.’”
Of course, that sort of in-your-face remark is exactly what has endeared Dutrow to so many in the racing industry.
So as Dutrow’s comment about the Breeders’ Cup implied, this plays out against preparations for the Breeder’s Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 where Dutrow’s Big Brown could wind up running against Curlin. If it works out that way, it’s an exciting matchup. Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes this year and Curlin won the Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Classic in ‘07 and is the all-time North America money-winner.
Dutrow admitted that Big Brown ran on the steroid stanozolol when he won both the Derby and the Preakness earlier this year and that created an outcry. Big Brown wasn’t on the steroid for the Belmont and was doing so poorly, his jockey pulled him up and he finished last. The steroid was legal at the time but since then, Kentucky and now Maryland has restricted its use along with other steroids.