DEL MAR, Calif. — Hall of Fame coach Bob Baffert picked up two wins on the opening weekend of Del Mar’s summer competition, three weeks after his 90-day suspension ended.
Havnameltdown won by 2 1/4 lengths in its first career start in Sunday’s $80,000 fourth race at the seaside track north of San Diego. The 2-year-old colt is owned by long-time Baffert clients Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.
On Saturday, Baffert won a $16,000 claiming race with 3-year-old colt Sumo.
They are among 45 horses that Baffert has shipped from his training base in Santa Anita near Los Angeles. He did not participate in any of the lucrative stakes races during the competition’s opening weekend which began on Friday.
On Saturday, Taiba finished second by a header to Baffert in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
Baffert’s long suspension by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission ended on July 2.
He picked up his first win since returning to the $125,000 Los Alamitos Derby a week later.
In April, Baffert began serving the suspension for a failed post-race drug test involving Medina Spirit, who finished first in the 2021 Kentucky Derby and was subsequently disqualified. Baffert was not allowed on any track, and his horses were given to other trainers in his absence.
In June, the New York Racing Association suspended Baffert for one year for repeated drug violations, although none of them occurred in New York. This punishment, which keeps him out of Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct, ends on January 26.
The two-time triple crown coach remains under a two-year ban by Churchill Downs that will keep him out of the Kentucky Derby for two years. He pursues the trail of Louisville to overthrow her.