Baffert Derby Saga

Horses under the care of trainer Bob Baffert are currently unable to earn qualifying points on the Road To The Kentucky Derby, and it seems there is a new regulation is in place for the 2023 edition.

Last year, several promising Baffert-trained sophomores were transferred to other trainers (including Tim Yakteen) in early April, aiming for the final 100-point prep races that would gain entry for the Winning horse(s) into the Run For The Roses.

But this year the nomination form for the 2023 Triple Crown states: “horses under the care of any suspended trainer or affiliates may be transferred to a non-suspended trainer and become eligible for earning points on a forward-looking basis so long as the transfer is complete by February 28, 2023.” Which is roughly a month away.

Last year’s late transfer was due, in part, to Baffert’s 90-day suspension, issued by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as a consequence of the 2021 positive test from Kentucky Derby Winner MEDINA SPIRIT.

That suspension began on April 4, 2022, about a week after his top 3-year-olds were transferred.

The KHRC suspension is entirely separate from the two-year ban put in place by Churchill Downs, Inc.

In May 2021, CEO Bill Carstanjen banned Baffert for over two years from all of the company’s properties, citing private property rights.

The ban also prevents Baffert-trained horses from earning qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.

Regarding the CDI ban, Baffert’s legal team has secured a hearing for next month on February 2nd. A judge will then consider Baffert’s motion for a preliminary injunction against that ban.

Said Baffert; “Right now, we’re not commenting on anything, we have a February 2nd hearing, we’re waiting until that date. Until then, there’s nothing to talk about.”

Some of the promising 3-year-olds currently in Baffert’s barn: CAVE ROCK, NATIONAL TREASURE, HEJAZI, GANDOLFINI, CARAMEL ROAD, ARABIAN KNIGHT, FORT BRAGG, ARABIAN LION, REINCARNATE, and NEWGATE.

The next installment of this on-going drama commences February 2nd. Stay tuned.

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