Appellate Court Denies Baffert's Motion For Emergency Stay; Trainer's Suspension To Begin April 4 - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Appellate Court Denies Baffert’s Motion For Emergency Stay; Trainer’s Suspension To Begin April 4

Trainer Bob Baffert

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has denied Bob Baffert's motion for an emergency stay of the 90-day suspension handed down by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, reports the Thoroughbred Daily News, meaning the trainer's suspension will begin on Monday, April 4.

Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate issued a ruling on March 21 siding with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) and denying Baffert's bid to overturn the commission's refusal to issue a stay of his suspension, leading Baffert to his filing for an emergency stay with the state's Court of Appeals.

The denial of that stay, signed by Acting Chief Judge Allison Jones, states in part: “Having carefully reviewed the record in conjunction with the applicable statutes and regulations, the Court concludes that the statutory right to appeal to circuit court pursuant to KRS 230 320(2)(f) provides an adequate remedy at law, such that equitable forms of relief, including the requested emergency stay, are presently unavailable. There can be no irreparable injury where, as here, the General Assembly has provided adequate administrative remedies.”

This decision is separate from the civil lawsuit Baffert filed against Churchill Downs, Inc., on Feb. 28, 2022, in an attempt to halt the company's ban on his trainees from stalls or entries, including its ban of his horses from the 2022 and 2023 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks races.

Baffert-trained horses have been ineligible to earn points on either the Road to the Kentucky Derby or the Road to the Kentucky Oaks owing to Churchill Downs' two-year suspension of the Hall of Fame trainer from its properties. The suspension stems from a medication violation involving his 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, who was officially disqualified from that win on Feb. 21, 2022.

Baffert was handed the 90-day suspension by the KHRC as a result of the disqualification of Medina Spirit, which, per Judge Wingate's March 21 ruling, is scheduled to begin on April 4.

The 90-day suspension would be reciprocated by other states, and per California regulation, could require Baffert to remove his signage and equipment from his barns at his home base at Santa Anita Park and send horses to be conditioned by someone other than his assistant training staff.

According to officials at Santa Anita Park, some of Baffert's signage has already been removed from his barn there. The trainer has 50 stalls at Santa Anita and between 40 and 50 at Los Alamitos. It remains unclear who will take over Baffert's horses except that it was possible the track may waive stall limits if horses are transferred to another trainer at Santa Anita who already has stalls.

trio of Kentucky Derby hopefuls were also transferred from Baffert to his former assistant Tim Yakteen last week: Messier, Doppelganger, and McLaren Vale. A fourth, Blackadder, was transferred to Rodolphe Brisset.

Read more at the Thoroughbred Daily News.

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