Bob Baffert is becoming (or already is) horse racing’s version of Lance Armstrong. Lie. Deny. Distract. Rinse and Repeat.
In the distraction portion of Baffert’s strategy he is now suing the New York Racing Association in federal court in an attempt to end his indefinite suspension.
The suspension was levied after MEDINA SPIRIT tested positive on a routine drug test following the Kentucky Derby.
Baffert’s very busy legal team filed the court documents on Monday. The trainer claims his rights to due process and to participate in New York racing are being violated by the organization.
“NYRA has, without legal authority and without any notice, or opportunity to be heard, attempted to indefinitely suspend Baffert’s trainer’s license issued by the Gaming Commission,” read the complaint, filed Monday in the Eastern District Court of New York, “thereby preventing Baffert from practicing in his chosen profession or using his state issued license on state-owned property.”
The filing also made the claim that Baffert was suspended as a result of “a media frenzy and the ongoing Kentucky investigation,” and said the organization lacks the authority to suspend the trainer.
“NYRA will vigorously defend the action it has taken in this matter,” Patrick McKenna, communications director for NYRA, said in a statement.
According to the complaint, only the New York State Gaming Commision has the authority to suspend Baffert.
It also claims the Kentucky investigation could drag on for “years,” meaning the NYRA suspension could be extremely long. Which sits just fine with the Daily Racing Blog.
The filing also included a letter sent to Baffert by David O’Rourke, CEO of NYRA, at the onset of the suspension on May 17th, which in part read:
“NYRA has determined that the best interests of Thoroughbred racing compel the temporary suspension of your entering horses in races and occupying stall space at our racetracks,” the letter read. “To do otherwise would compromise NYRA’s investment in its operations as well as the public’s perception of thoroughbred racing generally.”
In addition to the NYRA suspension, Baffert was issued a two-year ban by Churchill Downs after the MEDINA SPIRIT drug sample splits came back positive from his May 1st Victory in the Derby.
The law suit against NYRA is just more fluff and posturing by Baffert and his legal team, as they have danced this dance on numerous occasions.
Baffert has never been a presence in east coast racing, and hopefully never will be.
Bye bye Bobby, don’t let New York’s barn door hit ya on the way out.