Hearing officer O. Peter Sherwood recommended April 27 that trainer Bob Baffert receive a two-year suspension from the New York Racing Association for repeated medication violations involving his horses in other jurisdictions.
The suspension—which would apply only to NYRA’s three racetracks, Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course—must still be approved by a three-person NYRA panel.
If approved, it would go into effect following the July 2 end of the 90-day suspension Baffert is serving from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission following the failed post-race drug tests and the disqualification of Medina Spirit from victory in the 2021 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Medina Spirit reportedly died after a Dec. 6, 2020 workout in California’s Santa Anita Park. In a statement shortly following the horse’s death, trainer Bob Baffert said Medina Spirit suffered a heart attack.
CBS Sports reported that the horse’s necropsy found no definitive cause of death. But . . . .
Degenerative joint disease was seen in Medina Spirit’s fetlock and elbow joints, the California Horse Racing Board reported. The microscopic changes in various tissues were mild and did not suggest a specific cause of death, the CHRB noted. Swollen lungs and foam in the windpipe, an enlarged spleen, and congestion and mild hemorrhages in other tissues seen on the postmortem examination are common in horses dying suddenly, and are compatible with, but not specific for a cardiac cause of death, the CHRB added.
Just two years after being acquired at auction for $1,000, Medina Spirit “is most likely now worth more than $50 million” following the horse’s Kentucky Derby victory, writes Joseph Pompliano of HuddleUp.
FEATURED IMAGE: Bob Baffert by AXIOS
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