Baffert Derby Drama: Owners Must Transfer 3-Year-Olds By Feb. 28 To Earn Kentucky Derby Points - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Baffert Derby Drama: Owners Must Transfer 3-Year-Olds By Feb. 28 To Earn Kentucky Derby Points

Bob Baffert

Horses under the care of trainer Bob Baffert are currently unable to earn qualifying points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, and it appears a new regulation is in place for the 2023 edition. Last year, several promising Baffert-trained sophomores were transferred to other trainers, including Tim Yakteen, in early April, aiming for the final 100-point prep races that would allow for a tilt at the Run for the Roses.

This year, the Daily Racing Form reports, the nomination form for the 2023 Triple Crown states: “horses under the care of any suspended trainer or affiliates may be transferred to a non-suspended trainer and become eligible for earning points on a forward-looking basis so long as the transfer is complete by February 28, 2023.”

Last year's late transfer was spurred in part by Baffert's 90-day suspension, issued by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in the wake of a 2021 positive test from Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit. The suspension began on April 4, 2022, about a week after his top 3-year-olds were transferred.

That suspension is wholly separate from the two-year ban put in place by Churchill Downs, Inc. In May 2021, CEO Bill Carstanjen banned Baffert for over two years from all of the company's properties, citing private property rights. The ban also prevents Baffert-trained horses from earning qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.

Regarding the CDI ban, Baffert's legal team has secured a hearing on Feb. 2, 2023, for a judge to consider Baffert's motion for a preliminary injunction against that ban.

“Right now, we're not commenting on anything,” Baffert told DRF. “We have a Feb. 2 hearing, we're waiting until that date. Until then, there's nothing to talk about.”

The following are some of the promising 3-year-olds currently in Baffert's barn: Cave Rock, National Treasure, Hejazi, Gandolfini, Carmel Road, Arabian Knight, Fort Bragg, Arabian Lion, Reincarnate, and Newgate.

Both the CDI ban and KHRC suspension came after Baffert-trained Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone after finishing first in the 2021 Kentucky Derby. It was the second betamethasone positive for a Baffert runner in a major Churchill Downs race, following Gamine's failed drug test after a third-place finish as the odds-on favorite in the Kentucky Oaks in 2020. Baffert runners failed three other drug tests outside of Kentucky in 2020, including Charlatan in the G1 Arkansas Derby.

Medina Spirit was subsequently disqualified from his Derby win, and owner Amr Zedan has appealed the disqualification. Medina Spirit died following a workout in December 2021.

Read more at the Daily Racing Form.

Paulick Report Icon

Receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts, promotions, and much more!

Become An Insider

Support our journalism and access bonus content on our Patreon stream

Learn More