Commentary: Rodriguez Made Smart Move

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9:14 am EDT

By Dick Downey

Rudy Rodriguez must be a smart guy, or he must have gotten smart advice, because he did something during his licensure hearing yesterday that turned out to be a win-win for him, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the Kentucky Derby.

Rodriguez has some smears on his record, including a long association with Rick Dutrow, Jr., a Dutrow-related supension in 2007, his recent suspension for two Banamine infractions and another recent overage. As a consequence, the trainer had to face the KHRC's Licensing Review Committee if he wanted to be trainer of record for Vyjack in the Kentucky Derby.

It was wasn't a question of whether Vyjack would run. Someone else could have been named his trainer. But Rodriguez has gotten him to this point, less 20 days on the shelf for that suspension.

Vyjack is scheduled to be stabled in Dale Romans' barn at Churchill Downs for the Derby. The two of them suggested to the committee that a surveillance camera be put on Vyjack at all times during his stay in Romans' barn. The committee agreed to the proposal and made it a condition of granting Rodriguez' license.

Hearing done. No court. no appeals, no lawyers.

"He proposed it, he and Mr. Romans. They agreed to it. We just made it formal, put it in writing," committee chairperson Burr Travis said. "We did it based on their suggestion, their proposal to get the license. If they want to do it, let's do it."

Travis is an attorney and a horseman. He knows a good proposed stipulation when he sees one. Rodriguez was smart to propose it, and the committee was smart to accept it. But we also say this. Rodriguez, if he has been cheating intentionally, had better clean up his act.

Meanwhile, Vyjack will be shipped to Kentucky from Fair Hill Training Center where he's been treated in a hyperbaric chamber for a lung infection and getting some R & R. Rodriguez was to gallop him this morning.