The New York Racing Association (NYRA) on Monday banned Medina Spirit trainer Bob Baffert from entering or stabilizing horses at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course or Aqueduct Racetrack.
This means that Medina Spirit, who won a now-contested Kentucky Derby and finished third in the Preakness Stakes, will not compete in the Belmont Stakes on June 5. The NYRA said its final decision on the length and conditions of Babbert’s suspension depends on whether Churchill Downs receives a second test confirming a first positive for 21 picograms of betamethasone for the horse on Derby day.
It would also invalidate Medina Spirit’s first place in the Triple Crown first leg.
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“In order to maintain a thriving thoroughbred racing industry in New York City, the NYRA must protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants,” said Dave O’Rourke, president and CEO of NYRA. said in a press release. “This responsibility demands action taken today in the best interests of thoroughbred racing.”
Medina Spirit was cleared to run the Preakness Stakes at the Pimlico Race Course after passing three pre-race drug tests. Baffert, who did not attend the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, has committed five drug-related offenses in the past 13 months. NYRA said its decision also took into account other horses trained by Baffert that had failed tests in thoroughbred races in Arkansas, California and Kentucky.
Craig Robertson, who represents Baffert, told the Associated press that he will review the NYRA decision and discuss the situation with his client before making a formal statement.