Here's a wonky legal take, by wonky lawyer Chris Wittstruck, on Dutrow's legal challenge to the revocation of his license and 10 year suspension. As you may know, the trainer got a 30 day stay of the ban on Monday.
Interesting reading; an unbiased and unemotional look at some issues not quite as cut and dried as what we've been reading in the press. For example, Dutrow's legal team is accusing NYS Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John Sabini as having a "remarkable" conflict of interest...
...inasmuch as Sabini is also a board member of the Association of Racing Commissioners International; the same group whose President, Ed Martin, a former New York racing official, called for the revocation of Dutrow's license in a highly publicized letter to the Board. Mr. Koenig's call for Chairman Sabini's recusal was denied by the Hearing Officer as beyond the scope of his authority and was, in any event, rejected by Chairman Sabini himself. Whether Mr. Koenig's theory of conflict goes beyond a mere appearance of impropriety remains to be seen.Seems a valid point there, as it has always seemed to me that the Board was being pressured by toothless national bodies such as this one and The Jockey Club to do what they are unable to do, and thus do their bidding for them.
The rejection by the Hearing Officer of the testimony of Mr. Dutrow's character witnesses, ranging from retired Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero, Jr. to renowned Kentucky veterinary surgeon Dr. Lawrence Bramlage, coupled with the nature of Mr. Dutrow's medication violations over the last 10 years as being mostly minor overages of legitimate therapeutic drugs, sets the stage for a claim that the 10-year administrative ban is "shocking to the conscious" (See Matter of Pell v. Board of Education, 34 NY2d 222 (1974)). The Board's 10-year reapplication ban, however, was in fact a melioration of the hearing officer's recommendation that Dutrow never be permitted to reapply for a racing license.The lawyer for the Board argues that, should Dutrow be permitted to obtain stays throughout his appeals process, he could drag this thing out and continue training for up to 3 years. So we may still be deciding what to do with his dropdowns and 3-day runbacks for quite some time still.
- I've been reading some suggestions that Uncle Mo run in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile rather than the Classic....and my reaction is....HUH?? Because, as some people say, that race would be better suited for him? Why would we, as horseplayers, care about that? After all, I think we have a vested interest, in the never-ending quest for the kind of value we should all be seeking all of the time, to see that high profile horses who are sure to take a lot of money be entered in races that they can NOT win! (See Winter Memories, and what some "respected handicappers" had to say before the race!) Not saying (yet) that that's the case with Uncle Mo's chances in the Classic. But the mile and a quarter distance surely raises the kind of questions that will have me looking elsewhere should his odds not reflect that uncertainty.
And, strictly as fans, why would we possibly want to see him run in a non-Championship race on a program billed as World Championships? After all, the Dirt Mile shouldn't even be run on Saturday anyway. It should be part of a Friday program of nice, but strictly supporting races such as the F&M Sprint (sorry girls) and the juvenile turf races. As they were when the Friday program was instituted at Monmouth, before the stupid Filly Friday idea that I guess we'll need an overhaul of BC management in order to finally get rid of. Mike Repole should be applauded for showing the kind of sportsmanship and risk-taking that we always lament that we don't see enough of in the sport. (And for, perhaps, giving us a chance to make a little money on the race.)