Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was suspended for two years by Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) on Wednesday, after Medina Spirit failed its post-race drug test following the Kentucky Derby victory.
The suspension will be effective immediately and last through the conclusion of the 2023 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs Racetrack.
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Baffert or any trainer employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables will not be allowed to enter horses in races or apply for stall occupancy at any CDI-owned racetracks.
“This decision follows the confirmation by attorneys representing Bob Baffert of the presence of betamethasone, a prohibited race-day substance, in Medina Spirit’s bloodstream on the day of the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby in violation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s equine medication protocols and CDI’s terms and conditions for racing,” a statement read.
Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI, said, “reckless practices and substance violations that jeopardize the safety of our equine and human athletes or compromise the integrity of our sport are not acceptable and as a company we must take measures to demonstrate that they will not be tolerated.”
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“CDI has consistently advocated for strict medication regulations so that we can confidently ensure that horses are fit to race and the races are conducted fairly,” Carstanjen said.
“Mr. Baffert’s record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby. Given these repeated failures over the last year, including the increasingly extraordinary explanations, we firmly believe that asserting our rights to impose these measures is our duty and responsibility.”