Judge Delays Ruling On Baffert's Lawsuit Against NYRA - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Judge Delays Ruling On Baffert’s Lawsuit Against NYRA

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert

Judge Carol Bagley Amon declined to render a verdict during Monday's hearing in trainer Bob Baffert's civil case against the New York Racing Association, according to bloodhorse.com. Instead, the U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York judge plans to consider attorney statements from both sides before issuing her ruling at a later, unspecified date.

Henry Greenberg, attorney for NYRA, argued that the ban preventing Baffert from racing at NYRA tracks is necessary because “the sport of Thoroughbred racing needs to be able to protect itself,” reports the Daily Journal.

“What he does is he gets caught, denies it… drags it out as long as he can drag it out and continues to race all along,” Greenberg said in arguments. “All while the reputation of the sport suffers.”

Meanwhile, Baffert's attorney Craig Robertson argued that the ban should be overturned because Baffert's rights to due process were violated.

“They jumped the gun here and decided to serve as judge, jury and executioner,” Robertson said in arguments. “NYRA's legal process: ready, fire, aim.”

Beyond protecting the integrity of the sport, Greenberg suggested that NYRA's ban serves the “public interest” because gamblers may lose money on horses that should have won, but didn't.

Judge Bagley Amon appeared to disagree, stating: “The public also has an interest in an individual's constitutional rights not being violated.”

According to the Daily Journal, NYRA is set to make a final decision on Baffert's status on Aug. 11.

Baffert filed suit against NYRA on June 14, nearly a month after the racing association notified the Hall of Fame trainer that he was temporarily banned from racing or stabling at NYRA tracks while the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission conducts its investigation into the post-race drug positive for Baffert-trained Medina Spirit, who crossed the finish line first in the May 1 Kentucky Derby. Baffert is seeking a temporary and permanent injunction against the ban.

As defendant in the case, NYRA filed a memorandum of law on June 30 in opposition to Baffert's motion for preliminary injunction. The Jockey Club filed a brief on that same date as amicus curiae, or friend of the court, claiming that its role as keeper of the Stud Book gives it a “unique interest in ensuring that when Thoroughbreds enter the breeding shed (where they determine the future of the breed through progeny), they do so with records uninfluenced by the effects of medication.”

On July 7, attorneys for Baffert filed their own memorandum of law, which consisted of 434 pages and included an affidavit from the trainer. In the memo, Baffert's attorneys allege that NYRA has “vindictively” targeted the trainer utilizing “hypocrisy” and “backdoor” tactics. The filing also zeroes in on two legal arguments: that the ban violates the trainer's right to due process, and that NYRA has no authority to issue a ban.

Read more at bloodhorse.com and at the Daily Journal.

Additional stories about Baffert's Kentucky Derby positive and ensuing legal battles can be found here.

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