ARCADIA, Calif. – Legendary horse trainer Bob Baffert was suspended by the California Board of Horse Racing effective Monday as the state regulatory board honors Baffert’s 90-day suspension by the Kentucky Racing Commission due to testing. test positive for last year’s disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit.
Baffert, whose appeal to have his suspension lifted was denied by the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday, is barred from all venues under the CHRB’s jurisdiction during the suspension, including Santa Anita Park in Arcadia and the racetrack. from Los Alamitos in Cypress.
He is also not allowed to participate in the training of horses that were previously in his care.
“Due to the CHRB’s ruling, any trainer on the grounds of Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, San Luis Rey Downs or Los Alamitos Race Course who may be the assignee of the horses from the Baffert stable will be required to apply for positions for those horses from Santa Anita or Golden Gate Fields racing offices, as applicable, for review and approval,” according to a statement issued Saturday by 1/ST Racing, a branch of The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita. “A change of trainer form will also be required to participate in racing after such transfer. Horses not transferred to a trainer in California will be required to vacate the grounds by April 4.”
Baffert must vacate his Santa Anita Park barn before the start of the suspension Monday.
“I am extremely disappointed that the Kentucky courts have found it appropriate that Mr. Baffert have to serve a 90-day suspension (a) based on a topical ointment that does not violate the rules and (b) before his case is over. been resolved.” heard,” said Craig Robertson, Baffert’s attorney in Kentucky, according to the Los Angeles Times. “This is unprecedented in Kentucky horse racing history.”
Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby last May, but later tested positive for the steroid betamethasone, leading to the validity of the victory being questioned. Churchill Downs officials announced that Medina Spirit would be disqualified if the test was confirmed, and Baffert was suspended for two years.
Baffert and his lawyer have insisted the positive test was the result of a topical ointment known as Otomax that was used to treat a skin condition, not an injection intended to improve the horse’s racing performance.
Betamethasone is legal except on race day.
Medina Spirit died at the end of a training session at Santa Anita Park in December.
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In a statement released shortly after the 3-year-old colt’s death, track officials said: “After completing a routine morning workout, Medina Spirit collapsed on the Santa Anita Park track and died suddenly of a probable cardiac event. according to the on-site veterinary team that attended him.”
An autopsy performed on Medina Spirit in December failed to determine a definitive cause of death, according to the CHRB.
Animal advocacy group PETA had called for a full investigation into Medina Spirit’s death and urged action against Baffert, saying seven horses he was training died in a 16-month period.
In a statement released after the necropsy report was released, PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo said, “How many horses trained by Bob Baffert will drop dead for no known cause before he is kicked out of racing? We urge California Horse Racing Board to withhold blood and urine samples from horses as new tests are likely to be developed to detect yet unknown doping agents.”
Baffert’s horses have won a record six Kentucky Derbys, not counting Medina Spirit’s victory.
This is not the first allegation of wrongdoing against the 69-year-old trainer, who has had dozens of horses fail drug tests over the years.
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