LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP/FOX 56) — Kentucky racing officials have denied trainer Bob Baffert’s request to stay his suspension for a failed postrace drug test by Medina Spirit that led to his disqualification as Kentucky Derby winner.
Kentucky Horse Racing Commission board members on Friday voted 10-0 with three abstentions against the stay in a specially called meeting.
KHRC stewards last week suspended the Hall of Fame trainer for 90 days with a $7,500 fine and disqualified the now-deceased colt for having the corticosteroid betamethasone in his system last May.
Bob Baffert is the Lance Armstrong of horse racing and has riddled the sport with scandal after scandal unchecked for years. We applaud the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for upholding Baffert’s suspension and believe making an example of America’s most embattled serial violator can be a key turning point for U.S. horse racing.
Animal Wellness Action went further by drawing a comparison of Baffert’s case to the indictment of individuals involved in a Kentucky cockfighting rink.
That portion of the release stated, “Just like the cockfighters indicted earlier this week in Kentucky, Baffert has gone far too long without facing the consequences of his actions against the welfare of the voiceless we all care so deeply about.”
In response to the suspension being upheld Baffert’s attorney, Lincoln Zweig, released the following statement:
KHRC’s decision is a sudden, arbitrary departure from its own 100-year precedent and from the general practice of courts everywhere in the United States. Let’s be clear: This is part of a continuing coordinated attack against Bob by powerful forces that are rife with ethical and business conflicts and that want to keep Bob’s horses from competing against theirs at the track. We look forward to obtaining a stay in an impartial, unbiased court of law.
Let’s also remember that the facts and law in the overall case are on Bob’s side. Fact: Kentucky regulates only the injectable form of betamethasone acetate, and not the topical betamethasone valerate. Fact: Medina Spirit was treated with an ointment, not an injection. And fact: the amount detected could not have impacted the horse’s performance or the outcome of the Kentucky Derby.
Baffert’s suspension, scheduled to begin March 8, is delayed pending a hearing in Franklin County Circuit Court.