NY Racing Association Seeks To Reinstate Bob Baffert Ban At Sept. 27 Hearing

Written By Mike Mazzeo on September 13, 2021
The battle between Bob Baffert and the NYRA continues, as the trainer is in jeopardy of being banned again.

The battle between Bob Baffert and the New York Racing Association continues.

And it’s clear the NYRA wants the embattled trainer banned again from competing at its tracks.

Baffert has been charged by NYRA with conduct detrimental on multiple fronts:

  1. The best interests of racing
  2. The health and safety of horses and jockeys
  3. NYRA business operations

Baffert’s conduct, the NYRA said in a statement released Friday, warrants “revocation or suspension” from the “right to train horses, enter races, or engage in any racing-related activity at all NYRA properties including Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.”

Baffert will be able to respond to the charge during a Sept. 27 hearing.

NYRA and Bob Baffert have been jousting for some time

The NYRA had suspended Baffert in May after Kentucky Derby winner Media Spirit tested positive for betamethasone.

But Baffert sued the NYRA to have the suspension lifted a month later. And a New York federal judge nullified the suspension in mid-July. The judge ruled that NYRA had acted unconstitutionally by failing to let Baffert adequately respond to their claims.

In its allegations against Baffert, NYRA also notes that he had four horses test positive for drug-related violations in the year leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

“NYRA has a responsibility to protect the integrity of the sport of thoroughbred racing,” NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said in the statement.

“We are determined to ensure the actions taken in furtherance of that goal comport with the requirements of due process, which is what the hearing rules and procedures established by NYRA provide.”

Retired NY State Supreme Court Justice O. Peter Sherwood will serve as the hearing officer.

Baffert also facing horse racing ban at Churchill Downs

Baffert is also facing a ban at Churchill Downs, where he is currently suspended from competing.

The home of the Kentucky Derby said in a statement that no horse trained by anyone suspended by the track could be awarded qualification points for the 148th running of the event.

“Effective Sept. 30, 2021, points from any race in the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ will not be awarded to any horse trained by any individual who is suspended from racing in the 2022 Kentucky Derby or any trainer directly or indirectly employed, supervised, or advised by a suspended trainer,” the statement said.

“Should a horse trained by a suspended trainer, or any trainer directly or indirectly employed, supervised, or advised by a suspended trainer, finish in a position that would have earned points in a ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ race occurring after Sept. 30, 2021, the points associated with that finish position will be vacated.”

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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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