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Bob Baffert receives two-year suspension from Churchill Downs

Exercise rider Humberto Gomez, top left, takes Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness entrant...
Exercise rider Humberto Gomez, top left, takes Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness entrant Medina Spirit to the track for a training session ahead of the Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Baltimore.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 11:50 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP/WYMT) - On Tuesday Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI) announced a two-year suspension of trainer Bob Baffert beginning immediately and running through the conclusion of the 2023 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs Racetrack.

The suspension means Baffert, as well as any trainer directly or indirectly employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables, is prohibited from entering horses in races or applying for stall occupancy at any CDI-owned racetracks.

The decision comes after Trainer Bob Baffert’s lawyer says a split-sample test of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit came back positive for the presence of the steroid betamethasone.

“CDI has consistently advocated for strict medication regulations so that we can confidently ensure that horses are fit to race and the races are conducted fairly,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “Reckless practices and substance violations that jeopardize the safety of our equine and human athletes or compromise the integrity of our sport are not acceptable and as a company, we must take measures to demonstrate that they will not be tolerated. Mr. Baffert’s record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby. Given these repeated failures over the last year, including the increasingly extraordinary explanations, we firmly believe that asserting our rights to impose these measures is our duty and responsibility.”

Churchill Downs, Inc. added that it reserves the right to extend Baffert’s suspension if there are additional violations in any racing jurisdiction.

Baffert Attorney Craig Robertson says additional testing is being conducted to try to trace the source of the drug to an ointment and not an injection.

The move comes as the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) disqualified Medina Spirit as the winner of the 147th Kentucky Derby.

The last winning horse to be disqualified from the Kentucky Derby after failing a drug test was Dancer’s Image in 1968.

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