NEW YORK – A New York federal judge overturned the suspension of horse trainer Bob Baffert on Wednesday, ruling that the New York Racing Association acted unconstitutionally by failing to allow him to adequately respond to claims against him after that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed on post-race medication. test.
In her written decision, Brooklyn Judge Carol Bagley Amon said a speedy post-suspension hearing in which Baffert could refute the allegations was necessary to meet constitutional requirements.
But she said the racing association “had not held any hearing – let alone a prompt one.”
Amon said she concluded that Baffert had established a likelihood that he would prove the suspension violated the due process clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
She said he had also made a “strong demonstration” that there would be irreparable harm if the suspension was not canceled.
Amon noted that lawyers for the New York Racing Association argued in a hearing on Monday that the public depended on them to ensure that races were conducted fairly and honestly and to protect the integrity of the sport.
“That may be true, but the public has no interest in ‘the integrity of sport’ being enforced by unconstitutional means,” she wrote.
In Monday’s hearing, Henry Greenberg, an advocate for the racing association, said the organization had acted quickly as the Belmont Stakes, the third installment of the Triple Crown of horse racing, was just around the corner.
NYRA operates Belmont Park, the Saratoga Aqueduct and Racecourse.
In Baffert’s lawsuit last month to have the suspension lifted, the Hall of Fame claimed he was suspended without “any notice” and was not told of the length or conditions of the suspension or any New York State law or regulation that it may have violated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.