Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Kentucky Derby 2022: Why Bob Baffert won’t have any horses in 148th Run for the Roses

As the chase for the Triple Crown begins every year, legendary trainer Bob Baffert usually has several horses in each of the three Triple Crown races, including the Kentucky Derby. However, when the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place on Saturday, Baffert won’t have a single horse attempting to win the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Medina Spirit, which was owned by Baffert, won the 2021 Kentucky Derby, but tested positive for a banned substance, betamethasone, following the race. Betamethasone is legal in the state of Kentucky, but it’s illegal to use it on the day of a race.

Back in late February — two months after Medina Spirit died unexpectedly — the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission suspended Baffert for 90 days. As a result, Baffert can’t have any of his horses that he trains compete in races in the state.

In addition to the 90-day suspension, Churchill Downs suspended Baffert from the track for two years in June 2021. Due to that particular suspension, the widely-acclaimed trainer won’t have any horses competing until the 2024 Kentucky Derby at the earliest, unless the group changes its ruling. Baffert was also fined $7,500 and all of the purse money that he earned from Medina Spirit’s victory that was ultimately forfeited.

On Dec. 6, Medina Spirit died following a workout at Santa Anita racetrack in California. Following a necropsy, there was no definitive cause of death.

Baffert won’t be absent from just the Kentucky Derby. He also won’t be permitted to enter any horses into the 2022 Preakness Stakes, which is the second leg of the Triple Crown. Last month, the Maryland Racing Commission announced that Baffert is banned from competing at the Preakness Stakes due to drug violations among his horses in other states over the last calendar year.

After Baffert’s suspension was made official, Maryland Racing Commission executive director J. Michael Hopkins sent a letter to the Center for a Humane Economy, Animal Wellness Action and the Animal Wellness Foundation requesting that Baffert be suspended in Maryland due to the fact that he’s been suspended from competing in other states.

As a result as these suspensions, Baffert will be forced to miss at least the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2022.

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