Betamethasone

NYRA Hearing Officer Recommends Two-Year Suspension for Baffert

Judge O. Peter Sherwood, the retired New York Supreme Court justice who served as the hearing officer in NYRA's dispute with Bob Baffert, has issued his report, recommending that Baffert receive a two-year suspension. "NYRA has reasonably concluded that it will not condone Baffert's reckless practices, outrageous behavior and substance violations, each of which compromises the integrity of the sport," Sherwood wrote. "I conclude that NYRA has reasonably determined that he should be excluded from the Racetracks for a lengthy period." The report has been sent to a three-person panel...

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Baffert, Zedan Again Denied Relief in KY Court of Appeals

Two weeks after a Kentucky Court of Appeals judge denied trainer Bob Baffert and owner Amr Zedan an "emergency" stay in their fight against the penalties levied against them by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) over Medina Spirit (Protonico)'s betamethasone positive in the 2021 GI Kentucky Derby, a separate three-judge panel denied a motion for interlocutory relief that will keep the case from proceeding any deeper in that same court. The Apr. 15 ruling did, however, note that the judges' order was not a ruling on the merits of...

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Letter to the Editor: Joseph S. Bertino, Jr., PharmD, FCP, FCCP

I am writing to try to clear up some of the confusion concerning the science around betamethasone as it pertains to its use in racehorses. I am a (human) clinical pharmacologist and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Why are there different forms (salts) of betamethasone (in this case acetate and valerate)? Many drugs do not dissolve well in water, so other molecules are added to them so that they can dissolve in water in order to make useful dosage forms. Sometimes these other molecules are added to...

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More Confusion Added to Baffert Appeal Process

With the clock ticking toward the Apr. 4 deadline for trainer Bob Baffert's looming 90-day suspension, a Kentucky Court of Appeals judge now wants to figure out whether the original venue chosen for legal action last month by the owner and trainer of disqualified 2021 GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit constitutes the correct county-level court. Dick Downey of the Blood-Horse first reported on the judge's order requesting briefs from the movants (Baffert and Zedan) and the respondent (the KHRC) covering just that single issue to be filed with the...

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Baffert, Zedan Escalate Appeals to Higher Kentucky Court

Trainer Bob Baffert and owner Amr Zedan filed motions with the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Thursday in an attempt to legally block a series of looming penalties related to the equine drug positive rulings of Medina Spirit in the 2021 GI Kentucky Derby. The most severe of those sanctions is a 90-day suspension for Baffert that is set to start Apr. 4. The Mar. 24 filing came barely 72 hours after a lower court rejected Baffert and Zedan's plea for a stay or temporary injunction that would have kept...

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Four Baffert Derby Hopefuls Moving to Other Trainers

Four of Bob Baffert's GI Kentucky Derby prospects will be transferred to other trainers, according to a press release issued by Baffert Thursday morning. 'TDN Rising Star' Messier (Empire Maker), 'Rising Star' Doppelganger (Into Mischief) and McLaren Vale (Gun Runner) are being sent to trainer Tim Yakteen, and will remain in Southern California. Blackadder (Quality Road) has already left California and will be sent to the barn of Rodolphe Brissett in Kentucky. Yakteen is a longtime former assistant of Baffert's, having last worked for him in 2004. Under the suspension...

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KHRC Denies Baffert a Stay of Suspension

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has denied trainer Bob Baffert's request for a stay of a 90-day suspension handed down to him earlier in the week for Medina Spirit (Protonico)'s betamethasone positive in the 2021 GI Kentucky Derby. The KHRC also denied a stay of its decision to disqualify Medina Spirit from first place in last year's GI Kentucky Derby. The Louisville Courier Journal and the Daily Racing Form were among the first to report the story. In most circumstances, once a trainer or owner has appealed a racing...

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Medina Spirit DQ'ed From Derby, 90-Day Suspension for Baffert

First across the wire in the 2021 GI Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit (Protonico) has been officially disqualified by the Kentucky Horse Racing (KHRC) Board of Stewards, which also handed trainer Bob Baffert a 90-day suspension and a $7,500 fine. The news came via a short press release Monday from the KHRC, which also posted the ruling to its website. Within a few hours of the announcement from the KHRC Churchill Downs officials issued a statement recognizing Mandaloun (Into Mischief) as the winner of the race. "Today Churchill Downs recognizes Mandaloun...

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Baffert Takes Stand In NYRA Hearing; KY Hearing Next

Bob Baffert testified for about 3 1/2 hours in Thursday's hearing to determine whether the New York Racing Association (NYRA) can exclude the trainer over alleged "detrimental conduct." Much of the testimony consisted of exchanges between the Hall of Fame trainer and NYRA attorney Hank Greenberg, whose attempts to rattle Baffert were largely unsuccessful. The Hall of Famer stuck to what has been the narrative from his team since the issues of his repeated medication violations first arose--that each offense involved mitigating circumstances that explain why he wasn't deserving of...

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Letter to the Editor: John Sikura

The case of Bob Baffert has been, sad but fascinating to watch. It has served to be the perfect foil for agenda-driven companies and organizations to attach a face to 'the cause.' Due process and the right to defend oneself with veracity is the foundational tenet of this country. It protects citizens from overreaching by entities such as Churchill, NYRA and others banning Baffert from running at their tracks until adjudication is reached--not dictated. The actions of Churchill Downs clearly prioritize what we already know, which is that the value...

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Medina Spirit Team Claims Proof Derby Drug Overage Came from Ointment

The legal teams for the trainer and owner of GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico) jointly issued statements after 6:00 p.m. Friday stating that long-awaited split-sample testing has finally been completed on the colt's urine that "definitively confirmed" and has "scientifically proven" that the type of betamethasone that showed up in his post-race positive test is the type that comes from a topical ointment and not via an intra-articular injection. The distinction is important to trainer Bob Baffert and owner Zedan Racing Stables (Amr Zedan) because they believe the...

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Baffert Amends Lawsuit to Attack NYRA's Alleged 'Sham' Hearing

Bob Baffert filed an amended complaint on Friday in his ongoing constitutional rights court battle against the New York Racing Association (NYRA). The new sections of the revised lawsuit contain no new bombshell allegations, and largely mirror points previously voiced by his legal team regarding what they have described as a "sham" hearing process initiated by NYRA to determine if Baffert will be excluded from New York's premier tracks. "The Sept. 10, 2021, 'Statement of Charges' which NYRA has asserted against Baffert are unquestionably vague and entirely subjective," the amended...

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