(Reuters) – Trainer Bob Baffert’s request for a stay of his 90-day suspension has been denied by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), his attorney said on Friday.
Racing stewards last month nullified Baffert-trained horse Medina Spirit’s victory in the 2021 Kentucky Derby due to the presence of a banned drug in his system and handed the trainer the suspension and a fine of $7,500.
Clark Brewster, an attorney for Baffert, called the KHRC’s decision on Friday “a sudden, arbitrary departure from its own 100-year precedent.
“This is part of a continuing coordinated attack against Bob by powerful forces that are rife with ethical and business conflicts and that want to keep Bob’s horses from competing against theirs at the track,” Brewster said in a statement.
“We look forward to obtaining a stay in an impartial, unbiased court of law.”
The suspension would prevent Baffert, one of the best known trainers in the world, from participating in the Kentucky Derby, the first of three races in the famed Triple Crown series, which is scheduled for May 7.
The colt’s win last year handed Baffert a record seventh victory at the prestigious event until a post-race sample found betamethasone, a corticosteroid.
Brewster on Friday reiterated Baffert’s long-standing claim that Medina Spirit was treated with a topical betamethasone valerate, not an injection.
“Kentucky regulates only the injectable form of betamethasone acetate,” he wrote.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, additional reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris)