Trainer Richard Baltas is currently restricted from entering horses nor are his horses permitted to engage in timed works at Santa Anita Park, according to the Paulick Report.
“We are conducting an investigation into matters concerning trainer Richard Baltas,” Aidan Butler, chief operating officer of 1/ST, which runs Santa Anita, told the Paulick Report via text message. “Pending completion of that investigation and any final decision based on the results, horses trained by Mr. Baltas are not permitted to enter races at 1/ST Racing venues nor engage in timed works.”
According to the Paulick Report, the news comes in the wake of a sesamoid injury suffered by the Baltas-trained 4-year-old filly Speedcuber (War Front) in the stretch of a maiden special weight event on the turf May 7 following which she was added to the vet's list. She succumbed to her injuries two days later. Baltas trainee Noble Reflection (Liam's Map), who was entered for the 10th race May 8, was listed as a stewards' scratch.
A statement read: “The CHRB is investigating the circumstances surrounding the late scratch of Noble Perfection from the 10th race at Santa Anita on May 8 and does not comment on pending investigations.”
According to California Horse Racing Board records, three Baltas trainees have suffered fatal musculoskeletal injuries in the past 12 months. In March, the Santa Anita stewards fined Baltas $1,000 after trainee Lookin At Sweetie (Lookin At Lucky) tested positive for methocarbamol when working Jan. 3 for removal from the veterinarian's list. Lookin At Sweetie won a maiden claiming race Jan. 21, prior to the methocarbamol positive coming to light.
When reached for comment by the TDN's Dan Ross, Butler declined to share any further details at the moment. TDN has also reached out to Baltas for comment, but did not receive a response prior to press time.