The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has suspended Bob Baffert, the winningest trainer in horse racing history, for 90 days due to a doping violation of his horse and the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit.
This means Baffert won’t be able to place any horses in the 2022 or 2023 Kentucky Derby, from which he was previously barred, and he is already banned by the New York Racing Association from the 2022 Belmont Stakes.
Medina Spirit’s Run for The Roses title is now forfeited, and the purse from the race will need to be returned to the KHRC, which was $1,860,000 for the winner. Spirit’s positive test was the fourth time a Baffert horse had been flagged in the previous 364 days.
Medina Spirit died on December 6th after a workout at Santa Anita, and a necropsy listed the cause of death as a heart attack for the three-year-old horse. No banned substances were found in the horse after passing.
Local Louisville horse Mandaloun, trained by Brad Cox, will now be the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner, and adds $1,260,000 to the $600,000 purse originally given for placing second. Churchill Downs never engraved the trophy, and Mandaloun will also be permanently recognized as the rightful winner of the race.
Hot Rod Charlie moves from third place to second, and Essential Quality (also a Cox horse) is now third.
Baffert’s attorney says they will appeal the decision right away, and gave the following statement:
We are disappointed by the Commission’s ruling, but not surprised. This ruling represents an egregious departure from both the facts and the law, but the numerous public statements by KHRC officials over the last several months have made perfectly clear that Bob Baffert’s fate was decided before we ever sat down for a hearing before the three stewards, one of whom is directly employed by Churchill Downs as the racing director at Turfway Park. We will appeal, and we will prevail when the facts and rules are presented to detached, neutral decisionmakers.