The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday denied coach Bob Baffert’s petition for emergency assistance against a 90-day suspension.
Following the order, signed by Acting Chief Justice Allison Jones, the Hall of Fame coach’s suspension is set to begin Monday and will be honored in all 38 racing states in the United States.
Baffert, who won the Dubai World Cup last Saturday with Country Grammer, was banned for drug violations involving some of his horses, including 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit.
The colt tested positive post-race for the corticosteroid betamethasone, which is not allowed in Kentucky on race day. Medina Spirit was later disqualified.
Signage outside Baffert’s barn in Santa Anita was removed Friday night as part of a California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) rule that requires any trainer suspended for 60 days or more to be banned from all facilities approved by the CHRB.
Baffert had already transferred four promising three-year-old colts to other trainers so they could compete in big prep races and potentially earn points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby on May 7. One of them, Doppelganger, is entered in the $1.25 million Arkansas Saturday Derby.
Churchill Downs suspended Baffert for the 2022 and 2023 Kentucky Derbys. Baffert is fighting that ban in federal court.
“We were disappointed with today’s ruling, but it’s important to understand that the court made it clear that they were denying the stay only on procedural grounds and not on the merits, indicating that Bob has ultimately won this case,” said Clark Brewster, an attorney for Baffert.
Baffert has repeatedly failed in his other attempts to obtain a suspension order, including from Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) executive director Marc Guilfoil and circuit judge Franklin Thomas Wingate, who denied Baffert’s request. March 21th.
“We will continue to fight for Bob’s ability to run and win in Kentucky and the KHRC’s unfairness against Bob,” Brewster said.