Horse Racing

Choose hears Bob Baffert’s case in New York, says state’s racing affiliation attacked his credibility

NEW YORK — A New York decide was sympathetic Monday to horse coach Bob Baffert’s claims that his Might suspension by the New York Racing Affiliation — after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a postrace drug check — was unconstitutional.

U.S. District Choose Carol Bagley Amon at a Brooklyn listening to repeatedly pressed a lawyer for the racing affiliation to elucidate why the suspension was issued earlier than Baffert was given an opportunity to defend himself.

Henry Greenberg, arguing on behalf of the racing affiliation, mentioned Baffert will get a listening to after the affiliation proclaims the size of his suspension by Aug. 11.

“Is not that somewhat too late?” the decide requested, noting that the length can be introduced months after he was suspended. “The issue I’ve, counsel, is that he was suspended and it is up within the air.”

She mentioned the racing affiliation attacked his credibility because it issued the suspension, however by no means gave him the possibility to talk on his personal behalf about what occurred.

“How does that adjust to due course of?” the decide requested.

At one other level, Amon mentioned: “You simply despatched him a letter saying, ‘You are out,’ with no due course of in any respect.”

Greenberg repeatedly mentioned the NYRA, which operates Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Saratoga Race Course, took the motion to guard the integrity of the game.

He mentioned the affiliation needed to act quick as a result of the Belmont Stakes, the third prong of horse racing’s Triple Crown, was quick approaching in early June.

Moreover, the lawyer famous that the Kentucky Derby check was the fifth time previously yr {that a} horse skilled by Baffert examined optimistic for medication.

“Not often within the historical past of the game has there been such a confluence of drug positives involving so outstanding a coach,” affiliation attorneys wrote in court docket papers.

In Baffert’s lawsuit final month looking for to get the suspension lifted, the Corridor of Famer contended he was suspended with out “any prior discover” and was not advised the length or phrases of the suspension or any New York state regulation or regulation he may need violated.

After listening to arguments from either side, Amon didn’t instantly rule.

Arguing on Baffert’s behalf, lawyer W. Craig Robertson III mentioned it was unfair of the racing affiliation to droop his consumer with out the completion of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding what he referred to as the “alleged check” on Medina Spirit.

Robertson mentioned it was potential that traces of betamethasone had been discovered within the horse’s system on account of an ointment utilized to the horse to deal with a pores and skin rash three weeks earlier than the race. The unregulated ointment, he mentioned, contained betamethasone.

Churchill Downs suspended Baffert for 2 years after a further drug check of Medina Spirit confirmed betamethasone within the horse’s system. Baffert can not enter any horses within the Kentucky Derby or different races on the storied Louisville monitor by way of the spring of 2023.

Robertson contended that the New York suspension could be the “loss of life knell” to Baffert’s coaching enterprise as a result of New York’s Saratoga Race Course, which reopens Thursday, is a pivotal cease for a younger horse destined for greatness.

He mentioned a high horse farm in Kentucky had already taken two prize horses from Baffert’s care and one other producer of elite horses was contemplating discovering one other coach if Baffert can not enter horses in New York races.

Outdoors court docket, Baffert and his attorneys declined remark after the listening to.

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