(TNS) Churchill Downs on Wednesday announced it will bar trainer Bob Baffert from all of its racetracks for two years following the news that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s postrace positive drug test has been confirmed.
The racetrack and casino company announced that the suspension begins immediately and will last through the conclusion of the 2023 Spring Meet, meaning that Baffert will be ineligible for at least the next two Kentucky Derby races.
Churchill said that neither Baffert “or any trainer directly or indirectly employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables” will be able to enter horses for races or apply for stalls at CDI-owned tracks, which include the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Calder in Florida and Arlington Park in Illinois.
“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 Churchill Downs Inc. “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 also said that the company “reserves the right to extend Baffert’s suspension if there are additional violations in any racing jurisdiction.”
The statement did not address whether Baffert and Medina Spirit will be stripped of their 2021 Kentucky Derby win, saying only: “The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has the sole authority to disqualify Medina Spirt as the winner of Kentucky Derby 147. It is the understanding of CDI that the KHRC is pursuing the completion of its investigation of this matter in accordance with its rules and regulations.”