First Belmont, Now Churchill: Baffert Banned Again
The list of punishments against horse trainer Bob Baffert grew this afternoon.
Reports came through saying Baffert would be suspended for two years from Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. The suspension comes on the heels of a confirmed failure of a drug test after the Derby by Medina Spirit, the most recent Baffert horse embroiled in controversy.
Per the terms of the suspension, Baffert is prohibited from entering horses in any race at Churchill in 2022 or 2023. This suspension closely mirrors the one handed down by NYRA, which banned Baffert from the 2021 Belmont Stakes, as well as any other race at the track.
Needless to say, the already-spotted legacy of Bob Baffert has taken a death blow.
Per the Courier Journal, as of May 2021, 31 horses of Baffert's have failed drug tests over his four decades in racing. This is an eye-popping number, and makes one wonder how similar suspensions haven't hit Baffert in the past. The Journal also cited an incident involving Justify, a horse that won the Triple Crown, but tested positive for a substance after a race in 2018. This was a similar situation, in which "trace" amounts of a substance were found. In 2018, however, the case was dismissed.
Baffert was not so lucky this time around.
Not having any Bob Baffert-trained horses around Triple Crown races will change the landscape for horse-racing fans and bettors dramatically. Check out these accomplishments:
Baffert's horses have won a record seven Kentucky Derbies, seven Preakness Stakes, three Belmont Stakes and three Kentucky Oaks. - Kentucky.com
And those are just the biggest races! Baffert has found success for decades in horseracing, and the door has now flown open for the next big trainer to supplant him as the sport's best.