Rick Dutrow was on the Belmont backstretch Tuesday morning preparing for the rest of his career after an absence of more than ten years, the result of his license being revoked by the New York racing authorities. Dutrow had his license reinstated by the New York Gaming Commission on Feb. 27, but said that Tuesday was his first day back at work.
“They gave me stalls in barn 28,” Dutrow said. “They allowed me to come back [Tuesday]. It was mid-day and I went straight to the barn to set things up. I will have a couple of horses by the end of the week and hope to keep adding from there. I’m back and all is good. I just want to look forward. I don’t want to look back at what happened. How does it feel? Great. Just great.”
Dutrow said he will welcome his first horse on Thursday, one that will be arriving from Ocala by van. He was not sure when he will make his first start, but said he will look to claim horses right away.
“Everything has been cleared up,” he said. “There are no more rules or regulations standing in the way. It’s all good.”
Showing some of the same bravado that was one of his trademarks before he lost his license, Dutrow said he was ready to celebrate after finishing work on Wednesday.
“I’m sweating after working,” he said. “I’m going to go take a shower and then have a couple of beers. I love it.”
While he so far has commitments to train just a handful of horses, he expects that his numbers will grow quickly.
“I’m ready to claim, ready to buy,” he said. “Then I’ll be ready to win. I can’t wait to start training horses again. I think after Saratoga is over I should have 25 to 35 horses. But who knows? I want to start claiming horses, but that’s not always so easy since so many of the claims come down to shakes. But my intention is to have as many racing as I can and as quickly as I can. We’ll be as aggressive as we can be.”
At the height of his career Dutrow was winning 150 or more races a year and dealt with some of the best horses in the sport, including GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. winner Big Brown (Boundary) and GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Saint Liam (Saint Ballado).
When asked if he could start winning at that rate and in major races again, Dutrow replied: “I’m hoping so, that I can do as well as I did. I’m going to try.”
Dutrow, 63, said he was pleased with his barn assignment because it included a lot of empty stalls, which he hopes to fill.
“They put me in a good barn,” he said. “If I had a van load of horses coming in I’d have spots for them right away. In this barn, there’s a lot of room for me to grow.”
Dutrow’s last start came on Jan. 16, 2013 at Aqueduct. In 2011, he had his license revoked for 10 years by State Racing and Wagering Board, the predecessor of the New York Gaming Commission. He was charged with a number of violations that included the finding of syringes loaded with unauthorized medication in the desk draw of his barn. He fought the case until exhausting all his legal challenges early in 2013 and had his license revoked for 10 years. Upon the end of what amounted to a 10-year ban, Dutrow applied to the Gaming Commission for a license, which was granted in late February.
“Following a review by the bureau of licensing in consultation with the division of racing, the review found that Mr. Dutrow satisfied the penalty imposed by the Racing and Wagering Board and his record is bereft of transgressions during his period of revocation,” Gaming Commission Executive Director Rob Williams said at the time. “Accordingly, the bureau has determined to issue a license to Mr. Dutrow to participate in New York horse racing.”
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