Report: CDI Files Motion To Dismiss Zedan's Derby Lawsuit

Amr Zedan | Coady

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Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI) filed a motion Apr. 8 to dismiss a lawsuit by Zedan Racing Stables, Inc., that seeks to lift a CDI-imposed ban against horses trained by Bob Baffert in the GI Kentucky Derby.

Jason Frakes of the Louisville Courier Journal was among the first to report on the motion, which was filed in Kentucky the same morning as a Jefferson County Circuit Court hearing was held on the matter.

That Monday hearing put off until at least Apr. 15 a decision on owner Amr Zedan's request for an injunction or on CDI's motion to dismiss.

“Everybody involved in horse racing is watching this issue, I'm sure,” Judge Mitch Perry was quoted in the Courier Journal.

Zedan owns the GI Arkansas Derby winner Muth (Good Magic), who would be among the Derby favorites if allowed to race.

It is unclear if a ruling in favor of Zedan would allow other Baffert trainees owned by different entities to also participate in the Derby, or if any lifting of the ban would also permit Baffert's trainees to enter the GI Kentucky Oaks.

According to the Courier Journal, CDI's motion stated that “The demand for a last-minute judicial takeover of the world's most storied horse race…is baseless, outrageous and should be immediately rejected.”

After Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone in the 2021 Derby, Baffert was banned from CDI's properties for two years. A federal judge in February 2023 denied Baffert a preliminary injunction that the Hall-of-Fame trainer had sought to be eligible to race in the Derby. Last July CDI extended the ban at least through 2024.

Baffert is not a party to this latest lawsuit filed by Zedan in a Kentucky state court.

“CDI's spurious, illegal extension of the suspension does not withstand scrutiny and imperils a host of interested stakeholders,” Zedan's Apr. 3 complaint stated.

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