The Bob Baffert catalog of disaster added another item Friday, when the New York Racing Association charged him with detrimental conduct.
A September 27th video hearing will give Baffert, a two-time Triple Crown-Winning trainer, his chance to refute the charges.
If the charges hold, Baffert’s rights to train horses or enter races at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course would be either suspended or revoked.
“NYRA has a responsibility to protect the integrity of the sport of thoroughbred racing,” NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said in a statement. “We are determined to ensure the actions taken in furtherance of that goal comport with the requirements of due process, which is what the hearing rules and procedures established by NYRA provide.”
Lest you forget, the drama surrounding Baffert began in May when his horse, MEDINA SPIRIT, failed a post-race drug test after Winning the Kentucky Derby. That drug sample included double Kentucky racing’s legally-allowed amount of steroid betamethasone.
Baffert, in spin mode, claimed the results were skewed because he treated the horse with an anti-fungal ointment containing that steroid. Then, in full-blown delusional denial, Baffert claimed MEDINA SPIRIT was a victim of cancel culture.
Oh what a tangled web Bob weaves.
Churchill Downs and NYRA subsequently suspended Baffert. Baffert then sued the NYRA to get his suspension lifted, claiming he didn’t have an opportunity to respond to the allegations. The New York federal judge presiding on the case agreed with Baffert and nullified the NYRA suspension.
Churchill Downs‘ two-year suspension on Baffert is still in effect, but the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission hasn’t rendered a final verdict on the MEDINA SPIRIT investigation yet.
It will be interesting, as well as entertaining to see what kind of revisionist history Baffert and his attorneys come up with at his hearing.