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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


On January 16, trainer Rick Dutrow began the seventh year of an unprecedented 10-year license revocation, the result of a therapeutic drug overage and hypodermic syringes that were allegedly found inside his Aqueduct barn office.

According to a letter submitted to the New York State Gaming Commission by retired State Steward Steven Lewandowski dated NOV 24, 2019, Dutrow was found guilty based on “planted evidence” by state investigator Joel Leveson.

Lewandowski’s letter also was sent to the Queens District Attorney’s Office and two members of the New York Racing Association Board of Directors.

On January 9, the Queens DA’s Office re-opened its investigation. “A crime was committed at Aqueduct Racetrack and a man’s life and livelihood was taken from him,” said Dutrow attorney, Karen Murphy ESQ.

Murphy recently submitted a fourth application to the Gaming Commission. At this point, the Gaming Commission has yet to acknowledge receipt of those applications.

“When discussing Mr. Dutrow’s case during my time as the State Steward,” Lewandowski wrote in a letter to the NYSGC, “Mr. Braulio Baeza Jr., the NYRA Steward at the time… told me on numerous occasions that evidence against Mr. Dutrow was planted…

”NYRA was also involved in the search of Mr. Dutrow’s barn,” the letter goes on to state. “At no time [during my tenure] has any member of the Commission asked me for any background… I have detailed knowledge of this case as I was the Alternate State Steward at the time…”

Now retired, veteran NYRA investigator John MacDonnell later testified that Leveson lied as to MacDonnell’s instigating the investigation, and if [an investigator] were to find incriminating evidence, that “you tear the place apart, not leave the barn after 10 minutes.”

Lewandowski continued: “I state emphatically that his penalties for which he received ten years and a $50,000 fine do not equal the infractions that occurred. It was obvious, and still is, that this was a personal issue against Mr. Dutrow which did not merit the punishment he received.”

This issue comes at a time when the sport is facing serious challenges for myriad reasons, precipitated by a spate of catastrophic equine injuries at the 2018-2019 Santa Anita winter meet, which carried over to the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic in which Mongolian Groom suffered a fatal injury.

Not long after last season’s Santa Anita meet ended, Dr. Larry Bramlage, whose Rood & Riddle Equine facility is the official equine hospital and veterinary pharmacy of the Breeders’ Cup, wrote a letter to relevant parties on May 28, 2019:

“This is a reaffirmation of my remarks of several years ago during Rick Dutrow’s violation hearing,” stated Bramlage, widely regarded as one of the world’s leading equine surgeons.

“I still hold his record with us as a consulting and treating veterinary resource for his stable in high regard. To have trained as many horses at a high level for as long as he trained them and not have a single fatal injury on your record is a phenomenal testament to the care he gave his horses.”

During Santa Anita’s first full meeting in 2019, from winter through spring,  there were a total of 37 equine fatalities. Prior Dutrow’s license revocation, his horses, numbering in the thousands, suffered no fatal injuries racing or training at any NYRA track for 11 consecutive years, confirmed by NYRA’s attending veterinarian when HRI’s investigative series first appeared in 2015.

“When we worked for him,” the Bramlage letter continued, “the horses were sent to us early in the course of their diseases before permanent damage had ensued… Not all trainers are as astute or as attentive to their horses’ issues as Rick Dutrow.

“His early intervention and willingness to treat at the highest level was truly noteworthy… When I laid out treatment recommendations his consistent response was always ‘we want to do this the best way’. He never requested any treatment options that were aimed at continued performance when it was against the best interest of the horse.

“Costs of treatment or disruption of planned schedules were never an issue. We consistently did it the ‘best way’. I think [the revocation] has made a point and I would support modification of the rest of his sentence.”

In summation, Lewandowski wrote: “There have been numerous trainers caught and prosecuted with drugs and/or syringes on the racetrack. The last trainer I am aware of was given a thousand dollar fine…

“There is a licensed trainer [and New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Board member] accused of purchasing inside information into entries. At least three racing officials from NYRA have lost their job and no action [was] taken against this individual [at that time].

“…When you use your authority against a licensee to this extent, it’s a gross miscarriage of justice to him and the racing industry as a whole. In this case, every individual involved with the decision to keep Mr. Dutrow out of racing is complicit…

“This miscarriage of justice has been abhorrent and should be corrected as soon as possible. I’m imploring you to mark his case as time served and allow Mr. Dutrow the ability to make a living in horse racing.

“Once again, I am available to answer any questions you might have.” 

As was the case with attorney Murphy’s applications, nearly three months have passed since Lewandowski’s letter was sent. And, like Murphy, the retired Steward received no confirmation of receipt, never mind a response.

A state official has come forward with first-account information of wrongdoing and injustice. So what is New York State and the New York Racing Association hiding?

A man’s ability to make a living has been stolen, the result of a crime perpetrated against him.  

In all this time, how could there not have been an investigation into this matter? Given evidentiary findings and first-hand testimony, seven years passed without an investigation. Why?

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103 Responses

  1. Does ANYONE believe Baeza can tell the truth ???? He was arrested for hitting his own MOTHER ! Look it up, it’s public notice ! This decision needs to be overturned !

    1. And he’s the guy in charge of integrity?!! I know for a fact people have gone to him to complain about race fixing and he won’t even discuss it! This is sickening, a man’s reputation and right to earn a living destroyed. I hope Dutrow sues them for a massive amount of money.

      1. Agree with all you say. Let’s hope that Mr. Dutrow gets a real day in court then, most of all, his right to make a living!

    2. Anthony
      I think I have heard you on Haskins radio show he did a few years ago — Hilarious and a good fit for Horseracing commentary !
      Good work …wish ya well -you got a twitter account ?

  2. How ironic is it that you can get away with just about anything with impunity now in New York but Dutrow is still being treated like the Son of Sam.

    I have a feeling that one reason NYRA and its cronies are fighting to keep him in the penalty box is they fear he will sue them for zillions of dollars if the truth comes out about what they did to him.

  3. John,
    I was never a big fan of Dutrow,but it is hard to believe he was treated fairly by NYRA. Many trainers are given passes for worse things than he was found guilty of. It is sort of like baseball where players cheat and use drugs,but only Pete Rose gets suspended for life. In sports as in life,it seems it is who is after you and who is in charge of the penalty. In racing the “old boys club” certainly have it in for Dutrow. I guess he was too public in his opinions for them. What we must remember going as far back as Oscar Barrera is that racing seldom punishes it’s own,except in the case of Dutrow.Racing is much more likely to expel a no name trainer than a big name trainer.

  4. The first time I met Joel Leveson he was watching a live race on a monitor at finer lakes race track and when a horse started swishing it’s tail in deep stretch loudly and repetitively yelled that the jockey was plugging the horse in. I ignored him at the time and figured he was a misinformed fan gloating his opinion. Shortly thereafter I went to the hbpa office and Joel levison was introduced to me by paul steckel the president of the organization as the ny state investigator. I said to Leveson,your the guy I just saw blurting out that a rider was plugging in a horse in. His response was no business like show business. Leveson was more interested in promoting his livelihood than protecting racing from false negative accusations at the expense of the horse racing industry. When the report came out about Dutrow search of his tack room and the findings and Leveson was the investigator I immediately thought the evidence was likely planted. Dutrow is not without proven violations that were punishable and valid,but this seemed like a witch hunt to rid themselves of a popular trainer that spoke loudly of legal steroid use and his success with other types of legitimate medical treatments of his horses. Legal medication and vet work does not cause breakdowns ,but lack of discretion and judgement using them is definitely a contributing factor..Dutrow should be reinstated and NYRA would be wise to do so with a hold harmless cause regarding his time served.

    1. Joel Levinson said he found the syringes in a drawer in Dutrow’s office during a ‘training exercise’ in which he was tutoring two new NYRA investigators how to go about their job.

      Later, while testifying at the NYSGC Hearing, Levinson said he “exhausted all leads” in the Dutrow case. Levinson then contradicted his claim when he stated that he never contacted any of the three veterinarians who might have explained the needles’ presence.

      Another report indicated the needles might have accompanied horses that were shipped in from Kentucky. Levinson said he didn’t check the validity of this story.

      Is the only proof of syringes discovered in Dutrow’s drawer the word of Joel Levinson? Where is the proof Dutrow wasn’t framed? I’ve worked on the backstretch. You can walk in just about any trainer’s tack room and plant anything you like.

      1. If you can get past the stable gate, that’s correct, but that’s not easy. Sometimes I’ve had to jump through hoops b/c either forgot my credentials or bumper sticker out of date at the beginning of the year, but once inside…a little stealth can go a long way.

  5. Baffert won the triple crown with a horse not qualified to enter.. so Ca goes back and covers their ass, changes the rules retroactively.. This is the dirtiest game being played, horse racing is coming to an end

  6. The comment posted above was by me Tony A Stabile. My comments have NOTHING to do with anyone related to me. My views are just that – my views ! Nothing to do with my son, daughter, or anyone related to me. Thank you.

  7. I’m a huge fan of Solid Horsemanship, Dutrow is one, his father was and so is his brothers. They are beyond knowledgeable, Rick has an innate sense when it comes to taking training to a higher level. I grew up around these guys at Laurel, etc, where they learned from Dicky Dutrow, their dad, what observing horses walking, galloping, in the stalls etc meant. Set him free and apologize publicly for the wrong doing.

    1. I worked for nyra for almost 10 years as a horse identifier and when I used to walk into Rick Dutrow Barn . I always said that if and when I die I want to come back as a horse and be in Ricks Barn Every horse no matter whether it was a $5,000 claimer or a $500,000 triple crown horse every horse got the same treatment same quality Care food and help. I hope that Rick gets reinstated because in my eyes he had one of the best she’d rows I walked down.

  8. Thanks for keeping us updated on this story, JP.

    As reports of further breakdown in racing authority and integrity accumulate on the heels of the equine breakdowns, we are left with a taste as bad as that of the MLB sign-stealing scandal.

  9. Why does this latest HRI condemnation of the recent attacks against justice so remind me of the repetitive questionable actions of AG William Barr. Evidently there is no justice to be found at NYRA as evidenced by the Dick Dutrow case, and for that matter, no justice to be had in the United States Justice Department as well as evidenced by Senator Harris. Joel Leveson would apparently fit in quite well working for AG William Barr. He might also even find lucrative employment opportunity working for Rudy. Lack of morality would not be considered a negative in either case. Joel Leveson need only follow the existing game plan quoted below.

    My closing thought is has anyone else had enough of it all? Are there any oats left being offered us that haven’t already been run through the horse? “Abhorrent” captures it all.

    Here’s all you need say Joel……….

    “Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?” Senator Harris asked.

    “Um … uh … I wouldn’t … I wouldn’t … uh … ” Barr sputtered.

    “Yes or no?” Harris requested.

    Barr asked Harris to repeat the question, which she did.

    “The president or anybody else … ” Barr trailed off.

    “Seems you’d remember something like that and be able to tell us,” Harris said.

    “Yeah, but I’m trying to grapple with the word suggest,” Barr replied. “There have been discussions of matters out there that they have not asked me to open an investigation―”

    “Perhaps they’ve suggested?” Harris tried to help Barr.

    “I don’t know. I wouldn’t say suggest ―”

    “Hinted?” Harris asked.

    “I don’t know,” Barr stammered.

    “Inferred?” Harris tried another word.

    Barr clammed up.

    “You don’t know,” Harris finally said.

    “No,” Barr said.

    There are few bigger abuses of power than the president of the United States using the power of the state to punish his political opponents with criminal investigations and prosecutions. This is not a criminal act under the law, but is rather one that has precedent as an impeachable offense.

    One of the three articles of impeachment drafted for President Richard Nixon targeted him for ordering the IRS to launch tax audits and investigations into his political opponents and the FBI, Secret Service and other agencies to spy on his opponents.

    Harris also asked if Barr or anyone in his office reviewed the actual evidence compiled by special counsel Robert Mueller before coming to his own legal determination that Trump did not obstruct justice.

    “No,” Barr answered.

    1. You might want to do a little research on Democratic presidents, especially FDR and Johnson. They were masters of Quid Pro Quo, especially IRS. Unbelievable, what hypocrisy and ignorance.

      1. True, small distinction, however. But no one ever put treason and quid quo pro until this criminal came along…

  10. The corrupt officials at the NYRA KNEW what was going on and that Leveson planted those needles… They obviously don’t want to admit it for fear of being sued by Rick.. And I hope Rick sues them for MILLIONS for them wrecking his life.
    Rick is one of the very best trainers around and he treated ALL his horses extremely well. I hope he gets his license back and will come back to training.. Go get them Rick..!!!!!

  11. Only attempting to point out the shortage of truth, and the lack of justice now impacting all aspects of everyday life Ronda. From the questionable lack of stewardship and honest governance of horseracing, to the oversight of our very democracy, is honesty no longer the norm? I am simply left trying to “grapple” with our societal lack of basic morality. The defamation of character against Richard Dutrow only further illustrates and reflects on our collective innocents lost. Sorry to interrupt the racing program. He only lost 7 or 8 years at his craft.


    1. Lost his home, badly in debt–borrowed $50,000 to pay a fine because he thought with time served that would end the matter. Obviously, it never did. Hopefully, a real court, not a state administrative hearing, will get him the justice he deserves…

  12. Only attempting to point out the lack of justice now impacting all aspects of everyday life Ronda. From the questionable lack of stewardship and honest governance of horseracing, to the oversight of our very democracy, is honesty no longer the norm? I am simply left trying to “grapple” with our lack of basic morality. The defamation of character against Richard Dutrow only further illustrates our collective innocents lost. Sorry to interrupt the racing program. He only lost 7 or 8 years at his craft.


  13. Anthony Stabile, even if this were true, it’s not germane to the story about a horsemen robbed of his livelihood. I won’t be looking this up, it’s personal and has nothing to do with business.

  14. TJ, guess it’s just a sign of the times. You can get away with anything, in Washington D.C., too. Welcome to the Lawless States of America.

    By the time this is over, Dutrow could get even for losing everything he had including, to this point, seven years of his life…

  15. Aaron, no question this was personal. For one thing, the Jockey Club was embarrassed by the whole steroids saga during Belmont Stakes week.

    As far as I’m concerned, any trainer could have no bigger advocate than Dr. Bramlage, who came to New York on his own dime to testify as a character many years ago then wrote the recent letter after the tragic Santa Anita 2018-19 meet ended. He didn’t have to do that either.

    Dutrow is no choir boy, but taking good care of his horses were his life.

    1. As I recall steroids were legal at that point. If I was him,I would have used Steroids in the Belmont Stakes if they were still legal at the time. By not using the steroids,he did a bigger disservice than if he would have used them. A noted racing authority wrote an article after the Belmont hat the horse he saw Belmont day was not the horse he saw in other races. John,can’t think of his name,but he was involved with Cary Fotias and has written many handicapping books. I am sure you know him.

      1. Yes, probably know the guy and also miss Cary every single day.

        You are right Aaron. steroid were legal and I felt the same way you did after the Belmont.

        But Mr. Dutrow told me a few years ago–trusting my memory–that he didn’t run on steroids when he won the Preakness.

        He said he ran bad in the Preakness because he couldn’t train him properly b/c of a foot issue he was dealing with. Further, he had the rail and Desormeaux got jammed up into the first turn when the field tightened up on him.

        Kent told Rick he knew he was in trouble at that point and halfway down the backstretch, knowing he couldn’t win, he made a decision to take care of the horse.

        It was the right thing to do but it sure looked bad. I remember watching the race with my wife in the stands. When he was eased at headstretch, I jumped out of my seat, said to her “fuck this game” and ran up to the press box to write my story.

        Toni and I “met” Big Brown in Florida that winter before his 3YO debut. We liked him b/c he kept playing with that big red ball that trainers hang outside the stall to give a horse something to do. And he was such a sweetheart. You could pet and love on him and he’d just stand there and enjoy it.

        I interviewed Dutrow for the very first time at length; I never got to know him before then. The rest is history…

        1. Just remembered the name Nick Mordin. He did seminars with Cary. I think you may have been involved. He wrote a great article sometime after the Belmont. No matter,how you slice it,Dutrow got screwed. I wonder if this will ever be righted.The powers that control the game are hard to take down. I am sure there are trainers using stuff today,who are at the top level of the game.

  16. Mr. Alexander,

    Thanks for being a voice of reason and for a telling anecdote.

    A day or two before the syringes were “found” in his desk draw–a desk draw in his office for godsakes, it was documented-I think it was ESPN-that he was leaving for Kentucky to saddle Boysattoscanova, among others, in the Breeders’ Cup. The syringes were “found” a day or two later.

    At the administrative hearing, Leveson lied on the stand, saying it was NYRA investigator John McDonnell who initiated the search. That never happened. Not long afterward, Leveson went to Costa Rica for a spell. Can go on and on about this…

  17. Mr. Robertson, I disagree with your ultimate conclusion but cannot refute your point. What you said was true. I can only promise to fight for the game to the best of my ability. Thanks for the comment.

  18. Thanks for the clarification Mr. Stabile. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, especially in this game.

  19. Thanks very much for checking in Mr. Brown. I agree with all that you say.

    I think maybe trainer Dale Romans said it best to me one day back in 2015 when we first wrote our series: “Rick’s a savant around horses…”

  20. The letter fell into my lap and I’m a big fan of justice and the rule of law, especially these days. Thanks for the note, I.

  21. McD, it was the sage Top Turf Teddy who wrote the other day beneath his daily ‘Stinkin Bet’ feature that “ponies and politics don’t mix.”

    Thank you for proving his theory incorrect. All of it sure is a sad state of affairs…

  22. Mr. Dula, I’m sure Mr. Dutrow appreciates your good wishes. Sometimes it takes seven years or longer but the truth will always come out…

  23. As everyone in this industry knows Dutrow and I did not care for each other. You did not invite us to the same party. But I respect him as a horseman and there has never been a doubt in my mind he was set up by investigators. The hatred they had for him was real. How Steve’s letter can go unanswered for three months is a crime it itself. Unfortunately the lack of leadership at the top is a disgrace.

  24. Iv been following this incident from the beginning…’s all about who you know and politics…..that’s it….. end of discussion

    Treated so unfairly…..

  25. Gary, thanks so much for weighing in. Sorry to hear about your personal travails with Rick. Tough game–in every way.

    Anyway, I’m sure he will appreciate your support. What fans and bettors need to know is that it takes courage for trainers to speak up against the racing establishment. That’s why I so appreciate your going on record.

  26. Sam, you’re right of course. Politics is the reality but only if you have the power. “Unfairly,” really doesn’t get it in this case as a crime was perpetrated against he victim.

    The American ideal still should matter, even in Drumpf’s America. Provable injustice cannot stand. Cait wait to see how this will all play out.

  27. What about gov.coumo ,who is the state leader,he put into place all his cronies to leading Nyra,a hater of horse racing like his father,why hasn’t he had an investigation of the wrong doings, he has been confronted many times regarding this issue and still won’t pull head out of the sand.shame on you.

    1. As you may or may not know, I wrote an open letter to the Governor early last year or late 2018 imploring him to exercise his own Second Chance program. Neither I nor 2,500 people, including many industry leaders who signed a petition asking only for time served, failed to move him.

      He could at least order the members of the Gaming Commission he appointed to answer one of four applications Karen Murphy ESQ made on Dutrow’s behalf. Apparently, abdicating responsibility is not the exclusive province of the GOP-owned U.S. Senate.

    2. If I’m not mistaken didn’t Gov. Cuomo own horses before he was involved in politics? I find it interesting that Gov. Cuomo has some connection with Anthony Bonomo.What ever happened to Bonomo and all of his horses? This is the Mr.Bonomo who had given a no show job to Dean Skelos thug son. The same Bonomo that Gov.Cuomo appointed chairman of the board of NYRAs board of directors. Is there not a stench of a conflict of interest amongst these felon wannabes? Can someone who might know more than myself connect these dots. Is it at all possible that Cuomo still owns horses under another name ( hidden ownership )

    1. Mr. Lavine,
      You aren’t the first to recite those five words at the beginning of your comment! They keep me on the right path at the Agnostic/Atheist fork.

  28. In 2012, I presented Joel Levinson with veterinary documentation of the repeated and illegal drugging of my horse Bourbon Bandit who was trained by Bruce Levine. Levinson dismissed the misconduct which would have made Levine responsible for the drug abuse. You see, Levinson and Levine are friends. The omertà of the duo trumped sanctioning offending parties for the grave injustice suffered by Bourbon Bandit when he broke down while racing under the influence of prohibited pain killers on November 5, 2011.

    1. Pretty ugly story Susan, and proof positive that actions have consequences. Keep up the good rescue work you’re doing upstate in New York and sorry for your loss. It’s clear that the pain has lingered…

  29. To say that I am disappointed, John, would be an understatement. You have regurgitated yet again the lie that Dutrow had no fatalities.

    I and others corrected have corrected you previously, and yet, in your apparent zeal to support Dutrow, you are willing to double down?

    Here is what you said in your post:

    “I still hold his record with us as a consulting and treating veterinary resource for his stable in high regard. To have trained as many horses at a high level for as long as he trained them and not have a single fatal injury on your record is a phenomenal testament to the care he gave his horses.”

    During Santa Anita’s first full meeting in 2019, from winter through spring, there were a total of 37 equine fatalities. Prior Dutrow’s license revocation, his horses, numbering in the thousands, suffered no fatal injuries racing or training at any NYRA track for 11 consecutive years, confirmed by NYRA’s attending veterinarian when HRI’s investigative series first appeared in 2015.


    These are the facts, as listed in the New York State Gaming Equine Breakdown, Death, Injury and Incident Database:

    EQUINE DEATH Racing 07/01/2009 Big Stack Belmont Park (NYRA) RF sesamoid fxs-euthanized
    EQUINE DEATH Training 06/07/2011 Stradvinisky Belmont Park (NYRA) post-op complications from LHL condular fx-euthanized
    EQUINE DEATH Training 02/18/2010 Tutor Aqueduct Racetrack (NYRA) severe distress-CV Collapse-euthanized
    EQUINE DEATH Training 05/07/2010 Break Water Edison Aqueduct Racetrack (NYRA) fx R humerus-euthanized

    Now, if you want to argue that a cardiovascular incident is not relevant, that’s fine. If you want to argue the same about a fracture that caused a death soon after surgery, it might at least be debatable. But even excluding those two, there remain two deaths on NYRA tracks due to breakdowns, under Dutrow’s care, that you continue to ignore.

    I’ll end by making the same point that I did previously: If you can’t see how this false claim degrades what might be an otherwise strong argument, then I’m afraid that you’re missing the forest for the trees.

    1. My zeal is for justice. FYI: I questioned Mr. Dutrow yesterday relative to these four horses and this is what I learned. As you explained, the anesthesia related death after surgery and heart attack–from a Twitter source, where you probably got your heads-up, are not catastrophic breakdowns. Dutrow said they didn’t die on the track and when his record was mentioned at the hearing NYS did not refute the claim.

      But as I said online, the point of the story was that a crime was committed against him and that he received an outrageous penalty, for a horseman a virtual death sentence. I suggest you read the original series re-posted here and follow the testimony. The guy was framed.

      OK, let’s say you are correct about the sesamoid and humerus injuries–and I’m not conceding this is correct. It was, after all, a state actor that helped make the frame possible. So that would be two breakdowns in 11 years, as opposed to 37 at one race meet along last year.

      If you are correct, this still qualifies as obfuscation. And from the sounds of it, you’re OK when people or governmental agencies place themselves above the law.

      I said on Twitter and repeat here, I’m out of defending this man’s horsemanship when 2,500 people signed a petition on his behalf. That’s about 2,498 more than those who would hang him on information that appears on a state website. I prefer to look at the bigger picture.

      Out of this thread now…

      1. Let’s say that I am correct? You are not conceding it?

        hoo boy.

        Those breakdowns are listed in the official database, and can be confirmed through independent news outlets. Here is one:

        Break Water Edison, winner of the Grade III Nashua last year, was euthanized last Friday after breaking his shoulder at the end of a workout on Aqueduct’s main track.

        After being out of action for almost a year, he raced four times this season, including two races six days apart at Aqueduct last month, not an unusual move for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr.

        His last start of 2009 came in the Fountain of Youth, when he was pulled up on the turn by Eibar Coa and finished last behind Quality Road.

        The breakdown caused a bit of a chain reaction that affected the first workout of the year for 2009 Wood winner I Want Revenge, also trained by Dutrow. He breezed three furlongs in 38.25, but exercise rider Gustavo Rodriguez had to let up on the accelerator and move off the rail in the stretch once he saw Break Water Edison on the ground just past the wire.


        You claim to have just spoken to Dutrow about the issue, and clearly implied that he did NOT deny the two catastrophic breakdowns.

        And then you want to argue that your repeated dishonest claims are somehow an attempt to obfuscate on my part? Seriously?! They wouldn’t be a distraction at all if you were willing to be honest, and the fact that you are rationalizing in such an obviously desperate manner only serves to further cloud the veracity of the central issue that you are promoting.

        You’re a knowledgable insider in the racing game, John, but when it comes to objective journalism, which is especially important in these type of heated issues, you have, sadly, disqualified yourself.

        1. Tinky is the guy that would always defend the integrity of NYRA and the NYSRWB in this matter for the past 9.5 years, while concocting tales about Dutrow using unidentifiable blood building medications that he learned about in the sporting page comic books about Lance Armstrong. Then he’ll throw in false anecdotes about Wild Desert and the Queens Plate being some kind of bank heist gambling coup when the true story was just a need to train the horse at Aqueduct instead of Monmouth.
          So if you hate Dutrow for whatever reason fine, but your record of protecting NY in this deal at all costs and your own false statements disqualify you from calling out anything Pricci has printed here.

          1. If you were able to back up any of those ludicrous claims with facts, perhaps readers might take you seriously.

  30. I was reading the DRF and Paulick Report, and learned of the former State Steward’s recent letter to the NYS Gaming Commission. I was involved with racing in NY for many years and am completely dumbfounded as to why this case hasn’t been re-opened. As Ms. Murphy states, if a state actor is alleged to have planted evidence that lead to a lengthy suspension of Mr. Dutrow, at a minimum an investigation should ensue. I’m at a complete loss of words on this case. I have read the comments cited above, and can’t help to think about racing and politics and why this game is having such a tough go of it. WE are certainly living in crazy times. NYS Gaming Commisssion, please do the right thing and review all the facts. Jim Gallagher

  31. Jim, thanks for weighing in. I remember speaking with you when we did our series five years ago and said you would need to wait before commenting until after retirement. I respected your wishes then, and appreciate your stating a position now and for asking the NYS Gaming Commission to do the right thing.

  32. Tinky… what Aqu Dude said.

    I put my name on what I write and allow the chips to fall. I make as many mistakes as anyone.

    But I do not apologize for my body of work for over a half century.

    Oh, and what’s your name BTW?


    1. “what Aqu Dude said”?

      Now you are promoting baseless, ad hominem nonsense? Really?

      Letting the chips fall where they may is not an excuse for failing to correct false claims when they are exposed. In fact, there are none.

  33. Does it make sense to anybody engaged in rational thinking that Lewandowski and Baeza both remained silent through a hearing akin to a trial, multiple appeals and 7 years thereafter and said nothing? I only know what I have read and heard over the years but however sensational Mr. Pricci’s article may be, it requires a lot more drilling down before becoming a credible charge of wrongdoing against Dutrow.

    1. This is what I’ve always thought was where the roadblock lays: the former NRSRWB was run by a political appointee but was controlled by the Governor, Sheldon Silver, Joe Bruno and subsequently Dean Skelos. Last I remember about a decade ago, NY racing contributed about $400M to the state general fund, not an insubstantial amount.
      I don’t know who concocted this scheme to bury Dutrow, or why, but I do remember Leveson planted those syringes the day after Cuomo was elected, and Fastus Castus’s Torbugesic race was 2 weeks before and that any new appointee would have to deal with this case already on the itinerary.
      Or, Perhaps it was all a coincidence.

    2. I believe Lewandowski was still a steward at the time,even though he worked for the state,he better than anyone knows about the incestuous relationship between the state and NYRA. That would have made his life intolerable,he knows both entities insatiable appetite for a vendetta. Hence,upon his retirement he let loose. I too have been a victim of NYRAs vendetta. I know once they decide you are their enemy or you may become a problem for them,they’ll stop at nothing to destroy you. Most if not all of their targets are guilty of nothing,they are guilty of speaking the truth. Horse racing is a dirty game. In my case,it is my opinion NYRA had one of their thugs damaged two of my horses. A major cover up ensued. Even the Feds could not make any headway. Simply saying they know who pulled off the hit but they could not prove it. I guess whoever fractured my fillies jaw and sliced a hole in my colts frog had to brag to someone about his handy work. NYRA as usual covered it up,not only did they cover it up,it is my belief they wanted to paint a picture that I damaged my own horse’s.

  34. JP, Tinky is the name of one of the Teletubbies (actually Tinky-Winky) who were on PBS for several years. Along with stable mates Laa Laa, Dipsy and Po they would frolic in Teletubbyland and had television sets on their stomachs. Pretty good show for the junior set. This posting of yours has as many comments as Mike Berner’s swan song posting, “This is the end…” Not up to speed on DD case but hope what you are advocating happens and can “break on through (to the other side)” meaning justice for Dick Dutrow.

  35. We’ll see what happens.

    Guess Mark was serious when he said he didn’t care about racing anymore, not even this…

  36. Aqu Dude, this being Tuesday, it’s only fair to invoke a famed Rule #39 of Leroy Jethro Gibbs: “There’s no such thing as coincidence.”

    Or perhaps Rule #51: “Sometimes you’re wrong”

    1. The other non-coincidence was finding a NYRA security guy I’ll not name standing in front of Fastus Cactus’s stall the week of that race noting the number and name on the door before he scurried out of the barn on being made.
      Preach, Leon wouldn’t like having to provide political cover but Gibbs woulda solved this bungled mess in half an episode.

  37. Thanks, Dude, prospective always welcome. Today’s retrospective is all reasonable people need to know. All sworn testimony, included the guy who was exposed on Cross.

    Actually, it’s Administrative Hearings, where there’s no due process or presumption of innocence, that should be abolished. The Rule of Law had best be preserved; otherwise, we can all start peeling our bananas.

  38. [Ed Note] Received this via private email. The ID was a first name only. I respected what was an apparent need for privacy:

    “I worked for nyra for almost 10 years as a horse identifier and when I used to walk into Rick Dutrow barn. I always said that if and when I die I want to come back as a horse and be in Rick’s barn Every horse no matter whether it was a $5,000 claimer or a $500,000 triple crown horse every horse got the same treatment same quality care, food and help. I hope that Rick gets reinstated because in my eyes he had one of the best shedrows I walked down.”


  39. It’s really a sad day when two of racing’s normally most knowledgeable and entertaining on-line advocates for truth and justice in racing are engaged in petty squabbling.

    In my opinion, Tinky’s contributions on this issue have become more personal than factual over time, and fail to elevate discussion to the extent they normally do. On the other side, people’s choice of screen names (real or imaginary) should have no bearing on the credibility of their positions.

    Mr. Resnik’s point on motivation for silence was well taken. I imagine both JP and Tinky know more about the story than they are able or willing to share.

    Generally speaking, though, I’d be skeptical of over-reliance on database content maintained by organizations who have proven themselves untrustworthy and incapable of transparency.

    1. So Indulto, you imagine that breakdowns that were, at the time, published independently in various media (including the DRF, in which RD was quoted!), and which Dutrow himself did not deny as recently as yesterday, are dubious? Seriously?

      You imagine that they may NOT have occurred, yet over a period of several years neither RD nor his attorney have bothered to mention a word about it? If it were true that they hadn’t occurred, it would be a HUGE scandal, and would obviously be very valuable to RD and his legal team. The fact that there have been no denials tells one all that one needs to know about the specific issue.

      So, I have presented unassailable facts which demonstrate that John has repeatedly been dishonest in his efforts to rehabilitate Dutrow, and yet he refuses to take responsibility for his actions. If you want to argue that these facts aren’t directly relevant to the ‘framed’ story, I would agree. But I didn’t contribute here in an effort to undermine that claim, and if it is true, those involved should be punished.

      I was inside the NY racing game for many years, and even did some business with Rick’s father, who was a superior horsemen and very interesting man. I never had any personal problems with Rick, but learned of things, some first-hand, that, when combined with his obviously detrimental attitude and disdain for authority, led me to the conclusion that the game would be better off without him. Does that mean that I would applaud the planting of evidence, etc.? Of course not, and if it were proven to have been the case, then RD should definitely receive another hearing.

  40. Indulto,

    And that’s the worst part of administering a website, to share news/opinions to educate and uplift us in a search for truth, justice– and the American way, disappearing more and more by the day.

    Stats are helpful in any endeavor, but never simply as a be all-end all. The larger issues are the state’medical director failing to make a strong scientific case vis a vis Butorphanol. Mr. Barker completely undressed him.

    The only other issue of import were the misleading statements or outright lies told by the state investigator that was obvious on cross-examination.

    And maybe the largest issue of all, as long as America remains America as it has been since 1776, is that there’s no justification for state administrative hearings that permit hearsay and, above all, no presumption of innocence and due process. I mean, as long as we still have a Constitution.

  41. Mark, why stop at the Kennedy’s?

    Let’s go all the way back to slave-owning founding fathers.

    There is just no end to obfuscation. And, BTW, Dutrow is apolitical but if he were, need be leaning right. That doesn’t prevent me from trying to seek justice for the man–a real day in court, and let the chips fall…

    Will not engage in any more politics on this particular subject, here or on Twitter.

    1. You made it political, I only responded Just as an aside, I met you at WSF 1982 penn National. You were with Newsday , I LIKED YOU THEN….It’s your sandbox IM GONE … LOL@ slavery! Ted KILLED A WOMAN! Liberals are so predictable

  42. Reading about this very active subject , its several contributions and biased ramifications, a couple of names come to mind about trainers who should have been ‘investigated’ with more than just a few slaps on the hand whether it was several moons ago ,yesterday or even today; Oscar Barrera Jr,Asmussen,R. Rodriguez. I guess ” you gotta be in it ” to come out clean with muddy hands.. dripping of feces.As a father of a lawyer ,wonder who was representing Dutrow`s reputation,,Marks Brothers ?? ” I don`t need more body guards,i need good lawyers” Michael Corleone,’Godfather III’ .[ One of the few good things about that movie ]. Interesting stuff,JP !

    1. Also liked Don Altobello character played by superstar Eli Wallach. “Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in.” Because of Eli Wallach performance I purchased his autobiography, “The Good, the Bad, and Me (Harcourt).” Now I’m gonna read it, ha, ha. Stage, movies, wonderful actor. Also liked Andy Garcia portrayal as Sonny’s boy, Vincent Mancini. Took out Joey Zassa on horseback at San Gennaro Festa. Not that bad a film, IMO. Oh yeah, Bridget Fonda also makes an appearance. Eye candy.

      1. Yeah,Wallach was a good protagonist of stereotypical characters like Anthony Quinn was.The only other worthwhile thing about ‘Godfather III’ was the killing of the Pope which was somewhat indicative of what may have ‘really happened’.Yes ,Virginia,there have been tyrannical people at the Vatican and there`s political backstabbing while wearing the cloth…but going back to Oscar Barrera,Jr,the ‘Miracle maker’ after he was severely punished he came back with long losing streaks.Even when he died he was on one of some 30 plus races.Nice articles on the subject by Andy Bayer,Ray Paulick. He was only a ‘contender’ with juiced up equines climbing from the the lower claiming ranks to Allowance,and Winning ! ‘Back Class’,my S ! And then Poof went the ‘magic ‘ ! I guess that his son,Oscar Barrera III, never observed his own father ,,at work.

        1. I remember Oscar running the same horse twice in same week. Lazaro in HOF (one of nine brothers) so the name Barrera is legendary. Son Albert also trained but not sure what happened w/him. I went to elementary school with his first wife, Liz Henderson, exercise rider at Aqueduct and Belmont. “Affirmed on the inside, Alydar on the outside, now Affirmed puts his head in front (Chick Anderson).” Jorge Velasquez on Alydar, Steve Cauthen on Affirmed. Alydar beat Affirmed in Travers but that came as a result of DQ of Affirmed for interference in far turn. Don Altobello enjoys spiked cannoli while Mike’s sister, Connie, watches with opera glasses. Also liked when Al Neri pops the Cardinal in Vatican while climbing stairs (GF Part III).

  43. This guy is a creep I’m in the harness game years ago mr Joel was trying to catch somebody at Monticello raceway ,he was caught on camera at 3oclock in the afternoon wile the races were going on a trainer/driver had a camera up in his barn and got mr joel coming out of a stall with a horse in it ! So the tr/dr immediate called the judge up stairs and told him that he was only taking a piss in the stall ! Whata bunch of bullshit ! If he didn’t have a camera up he would be next !!

  44. Indeed, Susan, the old “racetrack wave.”

    At the risk of sounding sexist, that probably works better for you than it does me

  45. Tinky,
    With no access to, or knowledge of, discussions between RD and his lawyer(s), I cannot even imagine what they would or wouldn’t have to say regarding your concerns, but I certainly don’t equate silence (or hypothetical absence of denial) with agreement.

    What I can imagine is that anything they might say contrary to the interests of someone in New York State’s government and/or its Thoroughbred Racing power structure is likely to at best be dismissed and ignored, and at worst be hidden from public view.

    Your following remarks are most welcome and I hope influential as well:
    “If you want to argue that these facts aren’t directly relevant to the ‘framed’ story, I would agree. But I didn’t contribute here in an effort to undermine that claim, and if it is true, those involved should be punished. …
    … Does that mean that I would applaud the planting of evidence, etc.? Of course not, and if it were proven to have been the case, then RD should definitely receive another hearing.”

  46. My husband and i too had our lives destroyed by Joel wearing the cloak of NYRA investigator for his dirty tactics.
    The emotional trauma &nightmares of our horses stolen by Joe & company, i will carry with me to my grave. Ruined 50 yrs of hard honest work by dedicated honest people.

    1. Barb, Joel is the biggest crook on the planet. He tampered with blood that was drawn at County Fairs , forged the signatures on the blood slip, then signed his own name as the witness . All this while no one was around. Worse yet the New York State Gaming Commission just rehired him. These people have so much dirt on each other they can’t fire anyone.

  47. George, thank you.

    People, many from the harness industry, have similar stories they are sending me.

    Compiling quite the dossier on this guy.

    Surprised he doesn’t work for Drumpf

    1. John,
      Joel Levinson is a low down, dirty no good coward! He’s the guy that throws the grenade into the room and then looks around like who did that?
      I know and there are so many others who know he set Rick up and PLANTED those needles in his barn. It’s not just a coincidence that the day NYRA & the State Investigator were supposedly going to teach J McDonnell how to do barn searches that this incident occurred. It was completely ord planned & organized by Levinson & NYRA Investigations! Anyone in Law Enforcement or who has been in Law Enforcement knows a search is a search which means you look everywhere to see if you “might” find something you don’t go straight for a particular drawer unless you know you put something there! Which he had someone do before arriving there!
      Joel has those needles planted there just like I was told, just like Steve a Lewandowski stated and just like so many others know they were! I wish all the others that know they were planted and have information about this would stand up and be men! Speak the truth. Rick Dutrow’s life & livelihood was stolen from him by the NYSRWB, Joel Levinson, NYRA & Sabini. Why? Because someone at the Board didn’t like him, or his attitude, or the way in which he handled himself and business? Or is it because he is one hell of a horseman who cares for his horses better than anyone I’ve seen.
      I’ve heard people say he has a past you know? Really? Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t have a story! In my 20 years at the Racetrack I pretty much saw it all. Every Trainers infraction came across my desk so I know who did what with drugs, who was late to the race you name it.
      I even had Joel Levinson come for me once that clown thought he could pull one over on me he thought wrong, I took what he thought he had and shoved it right up his A$$!
      Rick never deserved this and I commend Steve Lewandowski for what he did! I worked with him a long time, he’s a good man! He’s Honest & always did things by the book, just like myself!
      Rick has had 100 doors slammed in his face, but he hasn’t given up and it’s time he gets justice!

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