Baffert sues New York racing officials over ‘impulsive’ ban

bob burtKentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s coach sued the New York Racing Association on Monday to ban him from competing at three tracks, saying in an affidavit that “it effectively took me out of business in New York State.” will put it out.”

The association prohibited Baffert from entering horses or stabilizing them at Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct racetracks after Medina Spirit’s post-derby drug test was positive for betamethasone, a corticosteroid used to reduce pain and inflammation in joints. is injected into.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn, Baffert said the suspension was unconstitutional and that he wanted the horses at his high-powered barn to race at the lucrative and prestigious race in Saratoga this summer and in Belmont in the fall.

“The NYRA’s impulsive decision to deprive Baffert of his professional livelihood within the state of New York is one it had no legal right to do,” the complaint said.

Neither Baffert nor his attorney, W. Craig Robertson III, returned calls seeking comment.

Medina Spirit, Baffert’s colt, faces disqualification from the Derby – and the horse’s owner faces first-place check losses of more than $1.8 million – after two tests positive for his winning anti-inflammatory drug was.

After floating various theories – including contamination, a conspiracy targeting him and “cancel culture” – Baffert admitted that he was responsible: he stated that he had treated Medina Spirit with the antifungal ointment Otomax, without it. Know that it contains betamethasone.

The NYRA stopped Baffert in his tracks on May 17. After Medina Spirit’s second test came back positive on June 2, Churchill Downs suspended him for two years, including derbys in 2022 and 2023.

“The NYRA took this action to protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants,” Pat McKenna, a spokesman for the association, said on Monday. “In making the determination to temporarily suspend Mr. Baffert, the NYRA took into account the fact that other horses trained by Mr. Baffert have failed drug tests in recent days, resulting in the complete suspension of racing regulators in Kentucky. Penalties against them have been assessed by California, and Arkansas.

At least five of Burbert’s horses have failed drug tests in a little over a year, and he has had 30 failed tests in his career.

Still, a potential disqualification is months away and is bound to remain tied up in the courts for years. First, racing officials will hold a hearing and issue a decision. If they disqualify the Medina Spirit and suspend or fine Baffert, he can appeal for full commission. If the adverse decision is still not reversed, he may pursue a remedy in civil court.

In 1968, Derby winning the dancer’s image was stripped when a drug test revealed the presence of a banned anti-inflammatory. It took four years for the dancer’s image to be irrevocably disqualified.

The results of a failed trial and legal wrangling seem to hinder Baffert’s business. One of his more loyal owners, Spendthrift Farm, moved six of his horses from Baffert’s barn. Last year, he coached his Colt Authentic to the 2020 Derby victory.

Three other horses formerly trained by Baffert were abandoned in Kentucky by their owners in the care of Rodolph Brissette.

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