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Report: Baffert won’t be suspended by California racing board without due process

Bob Baffert
Bob Baffert(Flickr)
Published: May. 24, 2021 at 4:55 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Despite the controversy surrounding thoroughbred trainer Bob Baffert, members of the California Horse Racing Board announced they cannot suspend his racing license without due process.

Baffert’s horse, Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, was confirmed after the Run for the Roses to have received an illegal level of betamethasone that showed up in blood tests following the race.

In a statement obtained by Horse Racing Nation, the board said any action taken against Baffert’s license can’t be done without a hearing.

“Racetracks in Kentucky and New York have temporarily precluded Mr. Baffert from entering horses and/or using stalls,” the statement read in part. “... Should any regulatory body take action against any licensee, we would reciprocate that action in California.”

Also mentioned in the board’s statement was the death of Noodles, a horse in Baffert’s care who died over the weekend at Los Alamitos. Noodles was said to have died from pneumonia unrelated to racing or training.

Read the full statement from the California Horse Racing Board below:

“The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) is aware of the situation surrounding Bob Baffert and the alleged positive relative to the Kentucky Derby. Racetracks in Kentucky and New York have temporarily precluded Mr. Baffert from entering horses and/or using stalls. To date, the regulatory bodies in those two states – the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the New York State Gaming Commission – have not taken any action against Mr. 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. Should any regulatory body take action against any licensee, we would reciprocate that action in California.

“Further, Noodles, a 2-year-old unraced colt in Mr. Baffert’s care, suffered a non-racing or training-related death this weekend at Los Alamitos. That fatality will be posted on the CHRB website today, as is the practice, with the note: “Respiratory – Pneumonia (pending)”  A necropsy will be performed and a fatality review conducted pursuant to the law and CHRB regulations.”

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