NEW YORK — Two-time Triple Crown-winning horse trainer Bob Baffert has been charged with “detrimental conduct” by the New York Racing Association.
The NYRA has scheduled a Sept. 27 video hearing to allow Baffert a chance to refute the charges, CBS News reported.
In a letter dated Sept. 9, the NYRA charged Baffert with conduct detrimental to the best interests of racing, the health and safety of horses and jockeys, and the organization’s business operations.
Baffert was suspended in May by the NYRA, ESPN reported. In June, Churchill Downs Inc. suspended Baffert for two years after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a steroid in two separate post-race drug tests.
In July, Carol Bagley Anom, a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, ruled that the NYRA acted unconstitutionally by failing to allow Baffert to respond to claims made against him after the Derby, according to The Associated Press.
If the NYRA’s charges are upheld, Baffert’s rights to train horses or enter races at the Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course in New York would be either suspended or revoked, according to CBS News.
“NYRA has a responsibility to protect the integrity of the sport of thoroughbred racing,” NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said in a statement. “We are determined to ensure the actions taken in furtherance of that goal comport with the requirements of due process, which is what the hearing rules and procedures established by NYRA provide.”
The NYRA said that retired New York State Supreme Court Justice O. Peter Sherwood will serve as the hearing officer in Baffert’s hearing, CBS News reported.
Baffert’s two-year suspension by Churchill Downs remains in effect, but the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has not given a final verdict in the Medina Spirit investigation, the network reported.
Meanwhile, Churchill Downs warned horse owners that they were putting their Kentucky Derby aspirations at risk if Baffert continued as their trainer while he was still suspended, The New York Times reported.
Horses will begin competing in a series of races, called the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” beginning Sept. 18, the newspaper reported. Points are awarded to top finishers.
“Points will not be awarded to any horse trained by any individual who is suspended from racing in the 2022 Kentucky Derby or any trainer directly or indirectly employed, supervised or advised by a suspended trainer,” Churchill Downs said in a statement.
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