New York Suspension of Bob Baffert Overturned in Federal Court

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A federal judge on Wednesday said horse trainer Bob Baffert could race in New York State and Suspension by the New York Racing Association.

Judge Carol Bagley Amon, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, said in her written decision that Baffert was not given the opportunity to respond to the allegations against her after the Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit. Failed a post-race drug test at the track, Churchill Downs.

Amon said that in order to comply with the Constitution, a post-adjourn hearing is needed where Baffert can refute any claim against him. But he said the racing association “hasn’t held any hearings, let alone a quick trial.”

The racing association banned Baffert from the tracks – Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Saratoga – on May 17, just over two weeks after the Derby. After the Spirit of Medina Second drug test from Derby tested positive on June 2Churchill Downs suspended Baffert for two years, including the Derby in 2022 and 2023.

David O’Rourke, president and CEO of the New York association, said Judge Amon retains his authority to “exclude from racetracks those whose conduct is contrary to the interests of thoroughbred racing” and that this is not the end. For his efforts to hold Baffert accountable.

“NYRA is reviewing the court’s decision today to determine our legal options and next steps,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “But what is clear is that Mr. Baffert’s actions and behavior can either elevate the sport or harm it. We expect Mr Baffert to implement appropriate controls over his operation.”

At least five of Baffert’s horses have failed drug tests for a little over a year, and He made 30 unsuccessful tests in his career.

Still, a possible disqualification is bound to be months later and years in the courts. First, Kentucky race officials will hold a hearing and make a decision. If they disqualify Medina Spirit and suspend or punish Baffert, she can appeal to full state commission. If the negative decision is still not overturned, it may seek a solution in the civil court.

In 1968, Dancer’s Image’s Derby victory was called off after a drug test showed the presence of a banned anti-inflammatory. It took four years for the horse to be irrevocably disqualified.

The fallout from Medina Spirit’s failed test and legal strife seems to be hindering Baffert’s business. One of his more loyal stables, Spendthrift Ranch, carried six horses from Baffert’s stable. Last year, he trained the farm. colt Authentic is a Derby victory.

In written discussionsBaffert said five other owners would consider leaving him if he was banned from riding at New York races.

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