The Maryland Racing Commission said Monday that horse rainer Bob Baffert will be ineligible for the 2022 Preakness Stakes. Baffert led Medina Spirit to a 2021 Kentucky Derby win that was eventually stripped because of a banned drug. Baffert’s suspension from the Preakness Stakes came in a letter commission executive director J. Michael Hopkins sent to several animal rights groups that requested Baffert’s ban from the Preakness on May 21 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
In February, Baffert and Medina Spirit were stripped of their Derby victory, and second-place Mandaloun was declared the winner. Medina Spirit tested positive for 21 picograms of the steroid betamethasone through a post-race sample after the Kentucky Derby. That amount of the drug is double the legal threshold allowed in Kentucky racing. Medina Spirit died during a workout Dec. 6 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif; a necropsy revealed no definitive cause for the 3-year-old’s death, but cited a possible heart attack.
Baffert has been barred from participating in the 2022 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, the other two legs of the Triple Crown, for drug violations in the 2021 Derby and at other races. The Derby is scheduled for May 6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The Belmont will be held June 11 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
The New York Racing Association also announced last yaer that its decision to suspend Baffert from its events, including those at Belmont Park, took into account that “other horse trained by Mr. Baffert have failed drug tests in the recent past.” In addition, Churchill Downs suspended Baffert from Kentucky Derby competitions for the next two years, and he also received suspensions from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, California Horse Racing Board and the New York State Gaming Commission.
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