PED's once again caught up to controversial trainer, Rick Dutrow Jr.
Salute the Count, one of his horses he trained earlier this year, tested positive for twice the allowable level of clenbuterol, a banned substance. Two drug tests were performed after finishing second in the Aegon Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on May 2. Clenbuterol helps burn fat while promoting muscle growth. In humans, the drug is used to treat asthma. As a result of the positive test, Dutrow faces a 15 day suspension; he does have the option of filing an appeal within the next 10 days, but has already taken responsibility for his actions.
“I was there all week and am responsible,” Dutrow said. “I use that medication on many of my horses and only once can ever remember having a problem with it.”
According to the New York Times, "clenbuterol is an approved medication in horses, and is used as a bronchial dilator — which increases lung capacity — though it has steroidal properties. It is illegal to administer it on race day, but states vary on the length of time beforehand that it can be administered. In New York, for example, it cannot be administered within 96 hours of race day. In Kentucky, 72 hours".
With the recent Congressional subcommittee hearing on the sport, this state discrepancy as to when clenbuterol can be administered illustrates the need for a national governing body. Simplify the process: create a national oversight body, implement universal rules and provide a stringent transparent drug testing program so that the public will be more comfortable that they are seeing less of these "chemical horses" that recent breeders have been testifying to.
This is not Dutrow's first suspension. He has been fined or suspended at least once for the past 9 years for various medication violations — including positive tests for mepivacaine, phenylbutazone and oxyphenbutazone and clenbuterol. He also served a 60-day suspension in 2005 after two of his horses tested positive for banned substances and claiming there was a violation.
Given Dutrow's track record, would any owner want all the additional baggage and speculation that comes with employing this trainer? Apparently, the folks at IEAH do not have a problem with it.