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Hearing officer recommends 2-year NYRA ban for Bob Baffert | Sports



A retired New York State Supreme Court Justice on Wednesday really useful a two-year suspension for Bob Baffert for repeated treatment violations after the two-time Triple Crown-winning coach’s listening to with the New York Racing Association.

The 50-page ruling by listening to officer O. Peter Sherwood just isn’t a closing choice. Baffert’s camp and NYRA every have 14 days to supply rebuttals earlier than a three-person panel guidelines on his standing.

“NYRA met its burden with respect to all three of the charges against Baffert,” Sherwood wrote in his opinion, referring to expenses of conduct detrimental to the very best pursuits of racing, the well being and security of horses and jockeys, and the group’s enterprise operations. “NYRA maintains (and the record shows) that Baffert has engaged in a pattern and practice of unlawful conduct that has no parallel in the modern history of thoroughbred racing.”

The panel’s choice can’t be appealed by NYRA’s course of, which was developed final yr after Baffert efficiently sued in federal courtroom to get his preliminary suspension within the state of New York lifted. That suspension in May got here earlier than the Belmont Stakes and after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit examined constructive for a substance that was not permitted in a horse’s system on race day.

Churchill Downs suspended Baffert for 2 years, leaving him unable to enter horses within the Kentucky Derby this yr and subsequent. Baffert is combating that ban in federal courtroom.

Baffert on April 3 started serving a 90-day suspension imposed by the state of Kentucky for treatment violations. The suspension shall be honored in all 38 states the place horse racing happens and would imply no Baffert-trained horses within the Preakness on May 21 or the Belmont on June 11.

He already has transferred horses to different trainers to allow them to run within the Derby on May 7.

Baffert’s future at NYRA’s three tracks — Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Saratoga Race Course — relies on the panel’s closing choice.

If Saratoga legal professional John J. Carusone, New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association government director Will Alempijevic and New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America chief the Rev. Humberto Chavez take up Sherwood’s full advice, Baffert can be banned at NYRA tracks till summer time 2024.

Medina Spirit examined constructive for the corticosteroid betamethasone, which isn’t allowed in Kentucky on race day, and was later disqualified. The colt completed third within the Preakness two weeks after the Derby.

Medina Spirit collapsed and died in December in California. An examination discovered no definitive explanation for demise.

Baffert-trained Cruel Intention, Eclair, Charlatan, Gamine and Merneith additionally examined constructive for a substance not allowed at that degree on race day. Those violations occurred in California, Arkansas or Kentucky; none was in New York.

“These banned substances had the capacity to affect their performance,” Sherwood wrote.

Baffert, 69, is a Hall of Fame coach who has change into the face of the game. He gained the Triple Crown twice: in 2015 with American Pharoah and in 2018 with Justify.

NYRA declined further remark, deferring to the report. Baffert legal professional W. Craig Robertson didn’t instantly reply to a message looking for touch upon the ruling.

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