LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky racing officials plan to
challenge a recommendation that there's insufficient evidence to
suspend Big Brown's trainer Rick Dutrow for violating doping rules.
The order by hearing officer James Robke indicated the Kentucky
Horse Racing Commission was unable to prove Dutrow's horse, Salute
the Count, had an excessive amount of the legal drug Clenbuterol in
his blood after finishing second May 2 in the Aegon Turf Sprint at
Churchill Downs. That was one day before Big Brown won the Kentucky
"We have concluded that we have a strong basis for filing
exceptions to the recommended order, and we intend to do so
promptly," Lisa Underwood, commission executive director Lisa
Underwood said in a statement.
Robke's finding is only a recommendation to the commission.
This summer, the commission found Dutrow in violation and
suspended him for 15 days, under appeal pending the officer's
Clenbuterol allows horses to breathe easier while exercising.
Its use is legal at low levels but considered to be a
performance-enhancing drug at higher doses.
"It's cost me a lot of money and a lot of embarrassment just
because the stewards decided to make an announcement," Dutrow said
Friday in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
Jim Carroll, spokesman for the Kentucky Public Protection
Cabinet, said the commission likely would take further action at
its Oct. 27 meeting.
Dutrow said he will not attend.
The Oct. 27 meeting is two days after Dutrow is scheduled to
race Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown in the $5 million
Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita, a race that could pit him
against Curlin, the horse of the year and richest racehorse of all
Although the hearing officer found Clenbuterol was in Salute the
Count's system, he said there was insufficient evidence that it was
above the legal threshold of 25 picograms per milliliter of serum.
"The blood and urine from Salute the Count were taken promptly
after the race under the supervision of the Commission veterinarian
and the authority laboratory presented the Commission a finding,
but that finding did not rise to the level of a positive finding,"
Although Dutrow said he had no knowledge of Salute the Count
getting an overage of the drug, he said he was willing to accept a
suspension, provided it not prevent him from preparing him for the
"I just told these guys, 'I don't care what you do, but I don't
want any days before Breeders' Cup,"' Dutrow said. "My lawyers
looked into it. They called me and said, 'Rick, we can beat
Dutrow has been the target of public scrutiny because of his
acknowledgment that Big Brown competed in the Derby and Preakness
with the steroid stanozolol in his bloodstream. The horse did not
get a dose before the Belmont, in which he was pulled up and
The drug, which Dutrow says brightens his horses' coats and
increases appetite, was not illegal in the Triple Crown states this
year. However, it has since been banned in Kentucky and several
Dutrow said he will abide by the new drug rules and doesn't
intentionally send his horses out with illegal substances. He says
if there are occasional overages for legal drugs, it's because he
doesn't have day-to-day oversight of all his horses.
"I think we run a pretty clean outfit," Dutrow said. "I don't
use stuff you're not allowed to use."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)