3 years after Triple Crown bid, Big Brown trainer given a 10-year ban

We applaud John Sabini and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for taking this much needed action, and hope it will motivate other industry leaders in horse racing to do the same. Thank you to Joe Drape for yet another excellent column on this issue.

Cross-posted from the New York Times

Written by JOE DRAPE

Richard Dutrow and 2008 Derby winner Big Brown in Elmont, New York (AP Photo-Julie Jacobson)
Richard Dutrow and 2008 Derby winner Big Brown in Elmont, New York (AP Photo-Julie Jacobson)

New York authorities on Wednesday revoked the license of Richard Dutrow Jr., the trainer of the 2008 Kentucky Derby winner, Big Brown, barring him from state racetracks for 10 years and potentially ending the career of one of thoroughbred racing’s more controversial and successful horsemen.

The action by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board amounts to one of the most severe penalties issued in American racing and comes at a time when lawmakers, as well as many racing industry officials, are trying to restore confidence in the sport.

For years, Mr. Dutrow, whose horses have won some $80 million in purses and found themselves in the winner’s circle after any number of premier races across the globe, has been seen by many as the face of much of what is wrong with racing. Mr. Dutrow had been cited for nearly 70 violations at 15 racetracks in nine states — everything from hiding workouts of his horses to using powerful painkillers on horses he ultimately sent out to race.

“New York’s racing industry has no place or patience for Mr. Dutrow,” John Sabini, the chairman of the racing board, said in a statement. “His repeated violations and disregard of the rules of racing has eroded confidence in the betting public and caused an embarrassment throughout the industry.”

Concerns about drug use and possible cheating in horse racing have been the subject of Congressional hearings in recent years. Last spring, Representative Edward Whitfield, Republican of Kentucky, and Senator Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico, introduced legislation that proposed stiff penalties, including a permanent ban, for trainers whose horses test positive for drugs.

A growing body of evidence in the veterinary community indicates that the use of drugs — legal as well as illegal — is part of the reason the United States has the world’s worst mortality rate for thoroughbreds. Continue reading >>

2 thoughts on “3 years after Triple Crown bid, Big Brown trainer given a 10-year ban”

  1. I knew when Big Brown lost the Belmont, he truly was the fastest horse on Drugs! I have rescued many off track TBs over the years and the drug withdrawal is horrific to witness; they ‘run their stalls’, they sort of eat their hay, grain is untouched. Most of them have gastric ulcers from the ‘tubing’ and I still have one horse in my rescue that has been treated for Ulcers and she still has problem keeping the weight on. She is a very high strung and nervous mare. She becomes hysterical if she is separated from the other off track TB for a second. Since I will not separate those 2, and because I free lease the horses, the big Liver Chestnut mare will be free leased at the farm where they live.

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  2. Bravo !!!!! It is time to clean the Horse racing House !!!!! It is a Beautiful sport , but cleaning up is essential for it to survive…………………….

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