According to a Jan. 10 report from the New York Times, embattled trainer Bob Baffert has legal counsel drafting a civil complaint seeking a preliminary injunction that would allow horses in his barn to run for roses in May.
As it stands, Churchill Downs announced last spring that Baffert-trained horses would not be permitted to earn qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, and that they would not be permitted to run in the race in 2022 or 2023. The announcement followed a press conference held by Baffert in which he revealed that Medina Spirit, who had crossed the wire first, had tested positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone.
Baffert subsequently appeared on a number of mainstream news outlets first claiming he did not know how the substance could have gotten into the colt’s body, and later saying that it came from the administration of a topical cream. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards have yet to issue a ruling in the case, although Baffert’s team completed additional testing of remaining biological samples from the horse some weeks ago.
Baffert is reportedly seeking millions in damages in addition to the preliminary injunction in the civil case, which has not yet been filed.
Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill, called the prospect of a civil case “completely meritless,” pointing out that Baffert signed an agreement ahead of entering last year’s race that he would follow the private company’s rules regarding medication and participant conduct.
Churchill’s publicity department later underlined the track’s stance on the situation with the following tweet:
— Churchill Downs PR (@DerbyMedia) January 10, 2022
Read more at the New York Times
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