Trainer Bob Baffert was suspended on Monday by the New York Racing Association. Following Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s postrace drug test fail, Baffert has been facing a number of rumors and accusations.
Baffert, who has been no stranger to controversies throughout his career, will be banned from entering horses at New York tracks for the time being. This ban, which is overshadowing Medina Spirits Kentucky Derby victory, will include the Belmont Stakes on June 5th.
“In order to maintain a successful thoroughbred racing industry in New York, NYRA must protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants,” NYRA president and CEO Dave O’Rourke said. “That responsibility demands the action taken today in the best interests of thoroughbred racing.”
The NYRA have been vocal about taking into account Baffert’s previous penalties in Arkansas, California and Kentucky races in years past. The investigation which was spurred by a failed drug test following the Derby will partially be based upon the information obtained in Ketucky’s ongoing investigation.
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for the banned substance betamethasone in postrace testing. Medina Spirit will be disqualified from the Derby win if the horse does not test negative for the substance in a second drug test.
Image credit – apnews.com
Craig Robertson, Baffert’s attorney, has emailed the Associated Press and notified the media that his office is reviewing the NYRA decision. Baffert, who has not yet entered any horses into the Belmont Stakes, does have multiple horses in consideration for other races on June 5th.
“(The) NYRA has taken into account the fact that other horses trained by Mr. Baffert have failed drug tests in the recent past, resulting in the assessment of penalties against him by thoroughbred racing regulators in Kentucky, California, and Arkansas,” the news release says.
The Belmont Stakes is set to run June 5 at Belmont Park.