Letter To The Editor: Dear Kentucky, You Might Need Bob Baffert - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Letter To The Editor: Dear Kentucky, You Might Need Bob Baffert

There is no doubt that Kentucky-bred Thoroughbreds are the most sought-after racing stock on planet Earth. For sprint and distance races on dirt, Kentucky bred horses simply excel; it's an undisputed fact.

That said, I see a challenge to Kentucky breeding supremacy looming on the horizon.  As a consequence, you might wish to re-think your position with respect to Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert.

Please hear me out.

We all know the story.  That first Saturday of May 2021 Bob Baffert became the all-time winning trainer of the Kentucky Derby when Medina Spirit won the most recent edition of this outstanding American spectacle, indeed “The Greatest Two Minutes In Sports.”

However, a few days later it was discovered that Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone at a level of 21 picograms per milliliter of blood. Betamethasone is a regulated corticosteroid which is legal to use, but not allowed on race day. Baffert's lawyers have argued it was administered via a topical ointment, not an injection. (Was it given by Bob's veterinarian? We currently don't know.)

On June 3, Churchill Downs Inc. banned trainer Bob Baffert from entering any horses in races at any of its tracks for two years.  Thus, Baffert-trained horses are ineligible to earn points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby (both the Derby and Oaks)… and Bob is not allowed on CDI properties.

It's apparently your tracks, your rules.

And now this 90-day suspension for Mr. Baffert, which began Monday April 4.

I speak for no other horseplayers here, but to my thinking ALL of this feels like (over time) Kentuckians have developed a great jealousy of Mr. Baffert's Derby & Triple Crown success.

The Medina Spirit victory would have given Baffert seven Derby victories, one more than legendary Calumet Farm trainer Ben Jones' six. Folks, all Mr. Baffert has done is to stable, feed & nurture YOUR wonderful Kentucky bred horses, developing them to win more Kentucky Derbies than any trainer in history.

It truly feels like the Commonwealth of Kentucky has decided “if we can't beat him… we'll delete him.”

However, you might wish to rethink your position.

In reality, it may not be much longer until Kentucky Thoroughbred dominance in dirt sprint & distance races is severely challenged. In the not-too-distant future it's quite possible that Japanese-owned, bred, and trained horses will be winning Kentucky Oaks & Derby races those first Fridays & Saturdays in May… unless, of course, you somehow disqualify the Japanese from participation as well.  You no doubt witnessed their two victories in last year's Breeders' Cup, along with four recent wins at the Saudi Cup in February of this year, as well as five more triumphs at the Dubai World Cup the last weekend of March.

The bottom line here is that you are going to need a top trainer such as Mr. Baffert to prevent this… otherwise, you'll soon find yourselves not only shocked, but likely depressed, as you s-l-o-w-l-y make your way back to your Ol' Kentucky Homes… lamenting the fact that your previously unbeatable Kentucky bred horses are not quite so invincible.

Be Healthy, Everyone.

God Bless the Thoroughbred!

Roger Schutt

Grass Valley, California


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