Bob Baffert sues Churchill Downs over 2-year suspension


Bob Baffert has sued Churchill Downs and observe management in federal courtroom, searching for to overturn the embattled Corridor of Fame coach’s two-year suspension on grounds it violated his due course of rights.

The go well with filed Tuesday in U.S. District Courtroom names Churchill Downs Inc., CEO William C. Carstanjen and board chair R. Alex Rankin. The historic observe suspended Baffert final 12 months by means of 2023 and cited a current spate of failed drug assessments by his horses together with now-deceased colt Medina Spirit after he received the Kentucky Derby. A postrace drug take a look at revealed the corticosteroid betamethasone in his system, which is allowed in Kentucky however prohibited on race day.

Kentucky racing stewards final week disqualified Medina Spirit and handed Baffert a 90-day suspension and $7,500 nice. Churchill Downs acknowledged runner-up Mandaloun as winner quickly after. Kentucky Horse Racing Fee director Marc A. Guilfoil on Friday denied the coach’s request to remain the suspension that’s scheduled to start on March 8.

Opening day of the winter-spring meet at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.
Coach Bob Baffert appears on throughout Opening day of the winter-spring meet at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia on Sunday, December 26, 2021.

Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-Information by way of Getty Photographs

Baffert and his representatives have argued that the steroid in Medina Spirit got here from the topical ointment Otomax, moderately than an injection that’s banned. Legal professional Clark Brewster said in a launch Tuesday that Churchill Downs just isn’t tasked with relegating horse racing in Kentucky however “may unilaterally ban” a coach with out having details or any semblance of due course of.

“Churchill Downs and Mr. Carstanjen knew full effectively that imposing its suspension, based mostly on zero factual or authorized assist, would give illegitimate credibility to a false narrative about Bob,” Brewster added, “creating stress on the Kentucky Race Horsing Fee stewards to take motion in opposition to him, too.”

Churchill Downs known as Baffert’s lawsuit disappointing however not stunning in an announcement and mentioned it will battle the go well with and defend the corporate’s rights.

“His claims are meritless and constant along with his sample of failed drug assessments, denials, excuses and makes an attempt responsible others and establish loopholes to be able to keep away from taking duty for his actions,” it added.

Medina Spirit died on December 6 from what Baffert mentioned was a coronary heart assault following a exercise at Santa Anita race observe in California. A necropsy revealed no definitive trigger for his loss of life. The horse’s ashes shall be interred at a retirement farm for thoroughbred horses in Kentucky.

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