MRC To Remove Testing Thresholds for Corticosteroids

Edited Press Release The Maryland Racing Commission, upon the recommendation of its Equine Safety, Health and Welfare Advisory Committee, has approved a motion to modify a regulation on five corticosteroids to eliminate testing threshold levels and employ level of detection for the substances. The MRC took the action at its Sept. 23 meeting at Laurel Park. The change will be filed with emergency status and there will be public comment period. Given the regulatory process involved in rule-making, it is anticipated the update regulation will be implemented Nov. 1. The...

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NYRA Schedules Hearings, Issues Charges, for Baffert, Vitali

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has issued charges and scheduled hearings for trainers Bob Baffert and Marcus Vitali, NYRA announced Friday morning. "NYRA contends that Mr. Baffert and Mr. Vitali have engaged in conduct that is detrimental to the best interests of the sport of Thoroughbred racing or potentially injurious to the health or safety of horses or riders," they said in a press release. "Further, as detailed in the respective statements of charges, this conduct warrants revocation or suspension of their right to train horses, enter races,...

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More Allegations of Damaged Samples in Medina Spirit Testing

An attempt by the connections of Medina Spirit (Protonico) to have a third-party lab perform a new series of tests on the colt's bodily fluids in the wake of the colt's GI Kentucky Derby betamethasone positive has resulted in allegations by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) of a "lack of candor and contemptuous conduct by the New York Laboratory, [trainer Bob Baffert and owner Zedan Racing Stables], or both." According to a status report and motion for order filed in Kentucky's Franklin Circuit Court July 19, the KHRC wants...

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NYRA Tells Judge Its Motion to Dismiss Baffert Suit is Imminent

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...

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Jockey Club Wants to Give 'Unique Perspective' in Baffert vs. NYRA Suit

The Jockey Club (TJC) now wants to get involved in trainer Bob Baffert's federal lawsuit against the New York Racing Association (NYRA), which seeks to overturn his banishment from stabling and racing horses at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course, and Aqueduct Racetrack. In a June 22 letter to United States District Court (Eastern District of New York), Susan Phillips Read, an attorney for TJC, asked permission to file an "amicus" brief that she believes will "provide the Court with a unique perspective and information to assist in deciding the pending...

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The Week in Review: Attorney Vienna's Take on Baffert-Betamethasone Case

Having practiced law for more than 25 years, attorney Darrell Vienna has pretty much seen all there is to see when it comes to equine law, drug infractions, penalties and how racing commissions and courts interpret the rules. A former trainer based in California, he is renowned as one of the foremost experts in his field. So when it comes to the case of Medina Spirit (Protonico) and the positive test for betamethasone following the GI Kentucky Derby, his brain is well worth picking.  And Vienna has said that he...

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In Baffert Case, Sides Haggle Over Urine Sample

Lawyers representing the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) and Bob Baffert squared off before Franklin Circuit County Judge Thomas Wingate Friday morning in a dispute over whether or not additional urine samples from Medina Spirit (Protonico) from the GI Kentucky Derby should be made available to the defendants' lawyers and, if so, in what quantity? The Baffert team has asked for an additional urine sample because it believes further testing can prove that the drug in question, Betamethasone, found its way into Medina Spirit through an ointment used to clear...

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Team Medina Spirit Goes to Court to Force Alternate Urine Testing

The connections of GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonic) have filed a civil complaint against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) in an effort to force the agency to turn over the colt's post-race urine sample so it can be tested in a way that trainer Bob Baffert and owner Zedan Racing Stables, Inc., believe will prove that a betamethasone finding resulted from an ointment to treat a skin condition (Otomax) and not from an intra-articular injection. According to a June 7 filing in Kentucky's Franklin County Circuit Court...

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NYRA Suspends Baffert

There was more bad news for Bob Baffert Monday, as the New York Racing Association announced that it has temporarily suspended the trainer, which means he will not be allowed to enter any horses at NYRA tracks or occupy stall space. "In order to maintain a successful thoroughbred racing industry in New York, NYRA must protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants," NYRA President and CEO Dave O'Rourke said in a statement. "That responsibility demands the action taken today in the best...

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The Week in Review: Sorry Bob, It's Not OK

When Bob Baffert told us last week that he thought the positive drug test for Medina Spirit (Protonico) following the GI Kentucky Derby was the result of his having been treated with an anti-fungal ointment, he seemed to be suggesting that the whole thing was an honest and forgivable mistake. No harm, so why the foul? "This has never been a case of attempting to game the system or get an unfair advantage," he said. On that, he's likely telling the truth. That Baffert would use a rather benign corticosteroid...

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NAARV Calls for Revision of Medication Thresholds

In a release authored by its Executive Director Erica Minks, the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (NAARV) is calling on the racing industry to adopt "rational thresholds" as they relate to post-race testing of racehorses. The release comes in the ongoing aftermath of Medina Spirit's positive test for betamethasone, which registered 21 picograms per milliliter. "The North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians has advocated for rational and common-sense thresholds for therapeutic medications in racing horses since its inception in 2014," the release says. "As recently as December 2020, NAARV,...

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THA's Alan Foreman Joins All-Baffert Controversy Writers' Room

Normally, the TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland aims to touch on a wide variety of industry issues every week. But there was only one story worth discussing this week, so the writers broke down every angle of the explosive controversy surrounding Bob Baffert and the failed drug test of GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit. They also welcomed Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Chairman and CEO and prominent industry lawyer Alan Foreman as the Green Group Guest of the Week to talk about what happens now for Baffert from a...

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