Horse racing legend Bob Baffert will be suspended for 90 days from his home track, Santa Anita Park in Los Angeles County, starting Monday, California regulators have confirmed.
The statewide suspension parallels a 90-day ban from the Kentucky Derby, which suggested the trainer’s “unsuitability” for his state license under California Horse Racing Board rules, according to an official decision of the Santa Anita Board of Directors.
The suspensions, which are reflected in all 38 horse racing states, stem from drug violations involving some of his horses, including 2021 Kentucky Derby first-place finisher Medina Spirit.
The colt was stripped of the title after testing positive after the race for the corticosteroid betamethasone, which is banned on race day. In December, Medina Spirit died while training at Santa Anita, where Bob Baffert Racing Stables, Inc. is based.
A Kentucky court last month rejected Baffert’s attempt to suspend Derby’s suspension, but postponed the ban until Monday to allow him an emergency appeal, which failed.
The Associated Press reported that the panels outside Baffert’s barn in Santa Anita had been removed and four of his foals had been transferred to other trainers.
Baffert, a horse racing Hall of Fame inductee who has won six derbies, has strongly denied wrongdoing and continues to challenge bans on upcoming derbies in federal court.
“Bob will respect the CHRB [California Horse Racing Board’s] preliminary rulings, although he is disappointed by the extremely severe suspension that so unfairly affects all employees of his team,” his lawyer, Clark Brewster, said in a statement on Saturday.
“Bob hopes that ultimately, and with patience, the system will provide the opportunity for a fair, unbiased and informed decision,” the lawyer said.