California officials take wait-and-see approach with Baffert

FILE - In this May 22, 2020, file photo, Bob Baffert, two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer, lowers his bandana during an interview while keeping his distance at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Baffert has been temporarily suspended from entering horses at New York racetracks pending an investigation into Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File) (Ashley Landis, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

LOS ANGELES – The California Horse Racing Board will honor any action against Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert by other states if his license is suspended or revoked after a hearing and due process.

Churchill Downs in Kentucky and the New York Racing Association’s Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga tracks have temporarily banned Baffert from entering races or using stalls in their states after Baffert announced that Derby winner Medina Spirit had failed a post-race drug test.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the New York State Gaming Commission have yet to take action against Baffert’s license.

“They face the same issue the CHRB does in that regulators cannot suspend or revoke occupational licenses without a hearing and due process," a racing board statement said Monday. “Should any regulatory body take action against any licensee, we would reciprocate that action in California.”

Baffert announced on May 9 that Medina Spirit tested positive for an excessive amount of the steroid betamethasone. He has denied any wrongdoing. Kentucky officials are awaiting the results of split-sample testing.

Churchill Downs has said that if the split sample comes back positive, Medina Spirit would be disqualified from his Derby victory and second-place finisher Mandaloun would be declared the winner.

Baffert won a pair of weekend stakes races at Santa Anita. As Time Goes By captured the $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes and Hudson Ridge, co-owned by the trainer's wife, Jill, won the $100,000 Cinema Stakes. His only other weekend entry finished fourth.

In a separate matter, a 2-year-old colt from Baffert's stable died Saturday at Los Alamitos racetrack in Orange County.

The cause of Noodles' death was listed as respiratory-pneumonia on the California racing board's website. The colt had yet to make his racing debut. A necropsy will be performed and a review conducted as required by the board.


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