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Alan Sash of McLaughlin & Stern Defends Banned Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. in Federal Court Of Appeals

Wed 18 March 2015 News Releases

By David Grening | Daily Racing Form

NEW YORK – Banned trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. appeared in a federal court of appeals Monday, trying to convince a three-judge panel to hear his case against regulators who banned him from the sport for 10 years.

Dutrow’s attorney, Alan Sash, argued that Dutrow was denied due process and did not have a “full and fair opportunity” to defend himself in a federal court setting against the New York Gaming Commission (then the New York State Racing and Wagering Board), which banned him for a decade and fined him $50,000 for a history of rules violations.

The case, initially filed in February 2013 and which also sought punitive damages of no less than $10 million, was thrown out last July by Judge Sandra Townes of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District, who contended that Dutrow did not have cause to argue his case in a matter that had already been decided by state courts.

Dutrow’s attorneys have argued that John Sabini, then chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, had a bias against Dutrow in part because he also was an official of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which had requested the New York board hold a hearing regarding whether Dutrow’s license should be suspended or revoked. The ARCI request, made by a letter from that organization’s president, Ed Martin, was made in 2011 after the board suspended Dutrow 90 days when one of his horses tested positive for a banned substance in November 2010 at Aqueduct. Also, that same month, three syringes loaded with a banned substance were found in the desk drawer of Dutrow’s Aqueduct office.

Sash, who had 10 minutes to present his case before the judges, said there were several pieces of evidence not introduced in the original proceeding, including an email from the staff of Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), which questioned if the 90-day penalty was being “too light given the trainer’s prior doping history.”

When Sash intimated that the email and pressure from the ARCI played a role in elevating a 90-day penalty to 10 years, one of the judges said “That is not really the case” because the 10-year penalty was based on Dutrow’s “violations in various jurisdictions.”

Dutrow’s suit also names the ARCI as a defendant. Monday, Jeremiah Byrne, the attorney representing ARCI, noted to the judges that while Dutrow has fought the penalties handed him at every level “he never disputed that he broke the rules.”

Byrne, in his presentation before the judges, claimed Dutrow had “64 violations in nine states at 15 different racetracks,” though that lumps in minor violations such as not having foal papers on file or the proper silks for horses that raced outside of New York.

Dutrow, looking a little more gray than when he left the track two years ago, declined to comment to Daily Racing Form after court. He did, however, confront Byrne, asking him to explain how the ARCI could claim Dutrow doped his horses.

“How do you explain that?” Dutrow asked Byrne.

Dutrow was led away from Byrne by his attorneys.

It is unclear when the judges will issue a decision.