Amid Rick Dutrow's 10-year suspension handed down by the New York State Gaming Commission, a former state steward penned a bombshell letter coming to light that alleges evidence was planted on the Kentucky Derby-winning trainer.
HorseRaceInsider.com's John Pricci first reported on the contents of the letter, sent by the retired Steven Lewandowski in November to the Gaming Commission. Lewandowski, who stepped down from his post last year, wrote that during his time as a steward, "Mr. Braulio Baeza Jr., the NYRA Steward at the time… told me on numerous occasions that evidence against Mr. Dutrow was planted"
Dutrow started serving his suspension in 2013. The sentence stemmed from multiple violations, including discovery of syringes in his Aqueduct office containing a banned substance. Lewandowski wrote that he has not been asked for his background on the incident, which he has been told was a framing.
"There have been numerous trainers caught and prosecuted with drugs and/or syringes on the racetrack," his letter says, according to HorseRaceInsider.com. "The last trainer I am aware of was given a thousand dollar fine."
Per Pricci's report, the Queens District Attorney's Office re-opened its investigation in January, but the Gaming Commision has not acknowledged similar requests by Dutrow's attorney.
Dutrow, a native of Maryland who was three times New York's leading trainer, counts among his victories three Breeders' Cup races and two legs of the Triple Crown, the 2008 Derby and Preakness Stakes won by Big Brown.
Lewandowski submitted his letter in hopes of seeing Dutrow's punishment lessened, calling the suspension a "gross miscarriage of justice" and "imploring you to mark his case as time served and allow Mr. Dutrow the ability to make a living in horse racing."