Court setback clouds Bob Baffert’s racing future

We cannot remember the last time we were so happy to post something. There has not been much happy news to post. We found the following encouraging. The door may be about to shut on Baffert.

The title above says it. The article is written by the excellent Tim Sullivan reporting for the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Mr. Sullivan’s opening statement is, “Bob Baffert is winning races and losing ground.” We really like that.

Here’s the gist (or continue at the Courier-Journal here):

“Corniche’s victory in last Friday’s American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita established the Baffert-trained 2-year old as a leading contender for next May’s Kentucky Derby, the 15-1 favorite according to the oddsmaker William Hill Nevada. But a federal court ruling Tuesday further clouded the Hall of Fame trainer’s prospects of competing in the 2022 Triple Crown and could cause some of his clients to reassess their commitments.”

“In dismissing Baffert’s charge of contempt against the New York Racing Association, Judge Carol Bagley Amon cleared the way for a disciplinary hearing that could enable NYRA to follow through on a thwarted attempt to suspend the trainer from the three racetracks it operates: Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga.”

The article also states:

“If Baffert were excluded from the Belmont Stakes in addition to the two-year suspension imposed by Churchill Downs, he would be ineligible to compete in two of the three legs of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.”

“Rejecting the argument NYRA was attempting to circumvent an earlier injunction by scheduling a disciplinary hearing after failing to provide the trainer due process, Amon said, “This is an entirely different scenario,” and stressed that her July 14 ruling had not addressed the merits of Baffert’s case, merely that he was entitled to a hearing.”

The above is not the only twists and turns the Baffert ballyhoo is taking. If you are following the saga, be sure to check out the full article we quoted from hereinabove.

What’s next for horse racing’s poster boy for cheating and doping? NYRA spokesman Patrick McKenna said a pre-hearing conference has been scheduled for Oct. 11 to determine the date of an evidentiary hearing.

Oh, check this out from the same article:

“Last month, the track doubled down on that decision by announcing horses would be ineligible to accumulate Kentucky Derby qualifying points if trained directly or indirectly by a trainer suspended by the track.”

“At the time, Baffert was the only trainer who met that description. Churchill Downs subsequently suspended trainer Karl Broberg for “failure to properly care” for an injured horse.”

“To date, the American Pharoah Stakes is the only race Baffert has entered that carries qualifying points for the 2022 Derby. Winning it while trained by Baffert cost Corniche 10 qualifying points. But as the Derby draws nearer, and the points value of prep races increases, owners may have to weigh their loyalty to the trainer against a 3-year-old’s only chance to run for the roses.”

Slow curtain. The end.

Image Source: Louisville Courier-Journal. Photographer not named.


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