NYRA suspends Bob Baffert
by Pat McKenna
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the temporary suspension of Bob Baffert from entering horses in races and occupying stall space at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack.
“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.”
On Sunday, May 9, 2021, Mr. Baffert publicly acknowledged that the Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, a banned corticosteroid that would trigger a disqualification and loss of purse money should a split sample return the same finding. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is required to await the split-sample results before rendering a final determination in the matter.
In addition to the ongoing investigation into Medina Spirit’s victory in the Kentucky Derby, NYRA has taken into account the fact that other horses trained by Mr. Baffert have failed drug tests in the recent past, resulting in the assessment of penalties against him by thoroughbred racing regulators in Kentucky, California, and Arkansas.
During the temporary suspension, NYRA will not accept entries or provide stall space to any individual employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables.
NYRA expects to make a final determination regarding the length and terms of Mr. Baffert’s suspension based on information revealed during the course of the ongoing investigation in Kentucky, such as the post-Kentucky Derby test results of Medina Spirit.
About the New York Racing Association (NYRA)
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) holds the exclusive franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State's thoroughbred industry, which is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual statewide economic impact.