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New York Racing Association temporarily suspends Bob Baffert

Baffert will not be able to enter horses at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack.
Credit: AP
Trainer Bob Baffert, center, and others celebrate Authentic's win who was ridden by John Velazquez in the Breeder's Cup Classic horse race at Keeneland Race Course, in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

BELMONT, N.Y. — The New York Racing Association has temporarily suspended trainer Bob Baffert from entering horses at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack following Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit's failed drug test.

Baffert was informed May 9 that Derby 147 winner Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test served by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. The Hall of Fame trainer was then suspended from entering any horses at Churchill Downs as the commission awaited the results of a split-sample.

Though Medina Spirit and Baffert's other horses were allowed to race at Pimlico Race Course Saturday following rigorous testing, the NYRA said it will not allow Baffert's horses to race at any New York tracks while Kentucky officials investigate the drug test.

"In order to maintain a successful thoroughbred racing industry in New York, NYRA must protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants," said NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke. "That responsibility demands the action taken today in the best interests of thoroughbred racing."

The NYRA said the suspension is also a result of other horses trained by Baffert failing drug tests in the past, noting Baffert's 2020 suspension by Arkansas racing officials.

Bob Baffert Racing Stables cannot have stall space at any New York track during the suspension.

A final decision will be made based on the results of the Kentucky investigation into Medina Spirit's drug test. Baffert has maintained that the horse was never purposefully given betamethasone, saying it could possibly be linked to an anti-fungal ointment recommended by a veterinarian.

Medina Spirit did not win the Preakness Saturday, ending his Triple Crown bid.

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