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Legendary horse trainer Bob Baffert banned from California races amid 90-day suspension

Legendary horse trainer Bob Baffert banned from California races amid 90-day suspension

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Legendary horse trainer Bob Baffert has been suspended by the California Horse Racing Board, just one day after the Kentucky Court of Appeals denied his motion for stay from a 90-day suspension over Medina Spirit’s positive medication test following last year’s Kentucky Derby.

The CHRB released a statement on Saturday announcing its ruling which, in addition to upholding the suspension beginning on Monday, will also prevent him from being involved in the training of any horses previously under his care and from any enclosures under the CHRB’s jurisdiction, FOX11 reported. 

KENTUCKY JUDGE REJECTS STAY BUT DELAYS SUSPENSION TO APRIL 4

Bob Baffert brought Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit out for fans to see on the morning after the race. Medina Spirit is Baffert’s seventh Kentucky Derby winner. May 2, 2021

​​”Because the suspension is over 60 days, under the CHRB rules, during the term of the suspension, Mr. Baffert will be banned from all enclosures under the jurisdiction of the CHRB and Mr. Baffert shall not be permitted to be involved in the training of horses who have previously been under his care,” the statement read. “Any trainer who may apply for stalls in anticipation of a transfer will be required to comply fully with any applicable restrictions.”

Baffert’s attorney Clark Brewster released a statement on the ruling.

“Bob will respect the CHRB’s preliminary rulings, though he is disappointed by the extremely harsh suspension that so unfairly impacts all of his stable’s hard-working employees. Bob trusts that, ultimately, and with patience, the system will provide an opportunity for a fair, unbiased and informed decision,” the statement read.

Prior to the announcement, signage outside Baffert’s barn at Santa Anita was removed as part of a CHRB rule that mandates any trainer who is suspended for 60 days or more be banned from all CHRB-licensed facilities.

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The Hall of Fame trainer’s suspension is the result of medication violations involving some of his horses, including Medina Spirit. The colt finished first in the 2021 Kentucky Derby and tested positive after the race for the corticosteroid betamethasone, which is not allowed in Kentucky, on race day. Medina Spirit was later disqualified.

FILE - John Velazquez riding Medina Spirit crosses the finish line to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., in this Saturday, May 1, 2021, file photo. 

FILE – John Velazquez riding Medina Spirit crosses the finish line to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., in this Saturday, May 1, 2021, file photo. 
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

He is already suspended from Churchill Downs from the 2022 and 2023 Kentucky Derbies but is fighting those bans in federal court. 

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Trainer Bob Baffert watches workouts at Churchill Downs Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 1. 

Trainer Bob Baffert watches workouts at Churchill Downs Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 1. 
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A judge ruled Friday that his 90-day suspension would be upheld and go into effect on Monday as planned after the court found “no determination of the merits of Baffert’s contentions of error.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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