The New York Racing Association (NYRA) on Monday announced the temporary suspension of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert from entering horses and occupying stall space at the association’s three racetracks of Belmont Park, Saratoga, and Aqueduct.
The decision stems from Baffert’s public acknowledgement that Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone following his first-place finish in the May 1 Kentucky Derby (G1). The corticosteroid is banned from being in a horse’s system on race day. NYRA also says it took into account the assessment of penalties against Baffert in other jurisdictions for other failed tests on prohibited substances.
“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,” said NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke. “That responsibility demands the action taken today in the best interests of Thoroughbred racing.”
The results of a split sample test on Medina Spirit from the Kentucky Derby is pending. A positive result could trigger a disqualification once adjudicated by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. NYRA said it would determine the length and terms of Baffert’s suspension based on information revealed during the ongoing investigation in Kentucky.
Baffert’s suspension in New York follows a similar action taken by Churchill Downs officials with respect to Baffert-trained horses, who are temporarily prohibited from entering races at the track but are still allowed to be stabled there.