Does The Punishment Fit the Crime?


Anyone connected to the business of Thoroughbred Horse Racing is familiar with the name Rick Dutrow.  In case you aren’t, he is a trainer who has enjoyed great success.

Mr. Dutrow had a hearing before the New York State Racing and Wagering Board earlier this week to answer charges that he allegedly violated one or more of the Board’s rules pertaining to a foreign substance found in  testing samples taken from two horses that he trained.  The Board found that he did in fact violate the rule(s) and ordered that he serve a ninety day suspension.

Prior to this incident, Mr. Dutrow has been sanctioned by numerous Boards of Stewards and Racing Commissions.  Far too frequently those violations had to do with medication issues.  It is my opinion that Mr. Dutrow continues to demonstrate his disrespect for the rules because no regulatory body has yet imposed a sanction that really drew his  attention.  I do not understand the mindset of regulators who feel a small dose of medicine will cure the ailment when the patient has clearly shown little or no response to small doses in the past.  I guarantee that he is laughing at them.

I wonder if the members of the Boards of Stewards or Racing Commissions have ever thought of the feelings of despair and loss of faith that are promoted by these adjudications.  The majority of trainers are trying to do the right thing and comply with the rules while this man is treated with kid gloves after a litany of rule violations.  I am sure those people find that very discouraging.  If you force enough discouragement and loss of faith on people for a long enough period you get Cairo.  Yes, as in Egypt.

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