Jockey Club rejects claims by Bob Baffert, NYRA suspension confirmed

Dismissing Bob Baffert’s claims of irreparable damage as “entirely speculative” and calling the costs of his reputation self-inflicted, the Jockey Club objected to the Hall of Fame coach’s efforts to overturn his temporary suspension by the New York Racing Association in an amicus brief filed Wednesday.

“Whether through malfeasance, neglect or cavalier attitude towards medication rules, the horses in the care and care of Mr. Baffert have been shown to be significantly involved in medication violations,” the file says. “He alone bears the responsibility for this state of affairs …

“The source of the damage to Mr. Baffert’s reputation is not the temporary suspension from the NYRA; rather, the cause is a record of repeated drug test failures, including more recently after the US race the most famous and visible, the Kentucky Derby. “

For subscribers: Bob Baffert Continues To Fight With Churchill Downs, NYRA And Others Over Doping Allegations

Testing positive for betamethasone after finishing first in the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit was Baffert’s fifth known drug abuse in the space of 365 days. Churchill Downs subsequently imposed a two-year suspension on the seven-time Derby winner; NYRA an indefinite ban to be adjusted based on the results of the current Kentucky Horse Racing Commission investigation.

Baffert argues that the NYRA ban, which encompasses Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga, will cost him the “ability to pursue and practice the profession and livelihood of his choice” and cause a “mass exodus” of horses. of his stable.

Indeed, Baffert has already lost horses belonging to two of his best clients. WinStar Farm and Spendthrift Farm, owners of Coach’s fifth and sixth Derby winners (Justify and Authentic), both moved thoroughbreds from Baffert’s barn to those of rival trainers in response to drug test of the Medina Spirit Derby.

Statistically, however, the impact has been almost invisible. In the first six months of 2021, Baffert maintained the same 30% win rate he recorded last year while virtually duplicating the pace of his in-the-money performance. His 48 wins and 34 second places as of June 30 are exactly half of his totals for 2020.

Although its start-up income declined from $ 59,258 to $ 46,762, Baffert’s business was and is largely based in California. According to calculations attributed to Equibase, Baffert only raced 134 times on the three NYRA tracks from 2011 to 2020, only 3.23% of his 4,146 starts in the United States.

After: Bob Baffert, Kentucky Derby Medina Spirit Case Bogs Down On Urine Sample Size

“Mr. Baffert cannot plausibly state that his temporary suspension from racing on NYRA tracks has excluded him from races where he typically earns most of his money each year,” the brief said. “… Further on at this point, there are many alternative graduated stakes racing available to Mr. Baffert at racetracks in the United States other than those operated by NYRA.”

Baffert’s attorney, Craig Robertson, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Jockey Club’s interest in supporting the NYRA position reflects its continued efforts to eliminate the influence of drugs on racing and breeding and, presumably, the overlap in membership of the two organizations. Seven of NYRA’s 16 board members are also members of the Jockey Club, including Jockey Club President Stuart Janney III.

After:Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit case in Kentucky Derby bogs down on urine sample size

“From the point of view of the Jockey Club, in order to protect the health and safety of participants in sport and to maintain public confidence in the integrity of racing and betting, racetrack officials should have the right to suspend immediately a trainer or other person with credible responsibility for the administration of drugs which result in a violation of the Substance Laws. These decisions will almost always have to be made quickly to be meaningful.

Tim Sullivan: 502-582-4650,; Twitter: @ TimSullivan714

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