By T. D. Thornton
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) on Tuesday gave notice to a federal judge that it intends to file a formal motion to dismiss trainer Bob Baffert's civil complaint, which seeks to overturn NYRA's ban against him.
On May 17, NYRA informed the Hall of Fame trainer with the highly-publicized string of recent equine drug positives that he was temporarily not welcome to stable or race at the association's three tracks, Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack.
That ban, NYRA said at the time, would be re-evaluated once the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission adjudicates Medina Spirit (Protonico)'s positive betamethasone tests that came back after the colt won the GI Kentucky Derby. In the 12 months prior to Medina Spirit's positive, four other Baffert trainees also tested positive for banned substances, two of them in Grade I stakes.
On June 14, Baffert filed a civil complaint against NYRA, alleging that the association's ban violates his Fourteenth Amendment constitutional right to due process.
On June 30, NYRA filed a 236-page memorandum in opposition to granting Baffert an injunction (read those legal arguments in detail here).
A new twist in the July 6 letter is that lawyers for NYRA wrote that they first want to have a conference among parties prior to filing the motion to dismiss.
The timing will be tight, as the judge had already set a July 12 court date for Baffert's motion to be heard.
“Plaintiff's Complaint asserts five causes of action: (1) preliminary and permanent injunction; (2) an alleged violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (3) declaratory judgment; (4) tortious interference with business relations; and (5) an alleged violation of certain New York State laws,” NYRA's Tuesday letter to the judge stated. “Each of these claims are deficient as a matter of law and should be dismissed.”