Bob Baffert banned from entering Medina Spirit in Belmont Stakes
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.
It means Medina Spirit, who won a Kentucky Derby now contested and finished third in Preakness issues, will not race in the Belmont Stakes on June 5th. The NYRA said its final determination for the length and terms of Babbert’s suspension depends on whether Churchill Downs receives a second test confirming a first positive test for 21 picograms of betamethasone for the horse on Derby day.
It would also be invalidate the first place of Medina Spirit in the first stage of the Triple Crown.
“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 authorized to perform Preakness Stakes at 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.