Wednesday, July 6, 2022

NYRA reduces Bob Baffert’s suspension to one year, which means he’s eligible for Belmont Stakes

In a somewhat small victory, a three-person panel appointed by the New York Racing Association reduced his proposed two-year ban on racing in New York to one year. Baffert can resume horse racing in the state on Jan. 26, which means he is eligible for next year’s Belmont Championship.

Baft is also available for the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, but remains banned from Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. He was banned by Churchill Downs for two years after the former Kentucky Derby champion Spirit of Medina tested positive for a legal anti-inflammatory drug but was not legal on game day. Buffett could run at other tracks in Kentucky, including Keeneland, home to this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

Baft is currently suspended for 90 days by the Kentucky Derby for a positive test result for Spirit of Medina and will resume training on July 3. All tracks, including Southern California, are subject to suspension rules.

Craig Robertson, Baft’s attorney in Kentucky, said he would not be available for comment.

“This was an impartial and well-thought-out process that resulted in the long-term suspension of the sport’s greatest coaches,” said NYRA President and CEO David O’Rourke. “However, it’s not just about About Bob Baft or any individual, but about protecting the integrity of the sport in New York. [Thursday’s] decision to advance this goal. “

Baft was awarded 59 days of credit between his temporary suspension earlier this year and the 90-day suspension he currently serves.

Retired New York Supreme Court Justice O. Peter Sherwood, who was the original hearing officer, recommended a non-binding two-year suspension. The panel took two months to make that ruling. Baft has not had any positive drug tests in New York. He usually sends a few horses to Saratoga’s summer meetings, but isn’t a big deal in New York horse racing.

In other Baffert law news, his appeal to the KHRC to restore the spirit of the medina won in the Kentucky Derby has been moved from June 28 to August 22. Many of these legal cases are expected to be adjudicated outside state regulators and in civil courts.


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