Hall of Fame coach Bob Baffert, who was banned from the Kentucky Derby, aims to reclaim two entries – his own is Medina Spirit, who was stripped of the 2021 victory after being tested for anti-inflammatory drugs. competition.
“I have not had the opportunity to comment on this,” Baffert told ESPN’s Marty Smith in an interview at her home in California. “I’ve been waiting. We’ve been going through all the stages. I never had my plan with Churchill Downs.”
Baffert, a six-time winner of the Kentucky Derby who rode 34 horses in the prestigious race, will not be available on Saturday in the 148th race.
Medina Spirit proved to be betamethasone after winning last year and was eliminated from the victory in a ruling this year. Anti-inflammatory drugs are allowed in Kentucky, but must remove the horse at least 14 days before the race. It is considered a Class C drug, which has a limited ability to affect performance, but at any given dose on race day is a violation.
As a result, Churchill Downs Inc. banned Baffert from riding on any race this year until mid-2023. 38 U.S. running athletes are operating accordingly, meaning that if owners, trainers or jockeys are banned from one category, the others respect this.
“Who would have thought that cosmetics – cosmetics – brought down the Kentucky Derby winner,” Baffert told ESPN. “This is not good. And it’s something we’re going to, you know, we’re going to fight hard to save the Kentucky Derby of the horse, because he … had to win.”
Baffert, 69, is suing Churchill Downs Inc. to the federal court to set aside the suspension. He has failed several attempts in Kentucky to lift the railway ban or its 90-day suspension by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, which began on April 4.
Asked directly if he had intentionally stolen, Baffert vehemently denied to ESPN: “No.”
“It killed me when he did so much [Medina Spirit’s] “Tell me, in the barn,” said Baffert. “And they took my signs to the barn. It’s hard to see this, but you know what, at the end of the day, when the truth comes out … it tells a different story.
“That day will come. Yeah.”
Medina Spirit died on Dec. 6 from what Baffert said about heart disease after exercise. Necropsy failed to explain why.
“I think the main thing is to save Medina Spirit’s legacy. That’s what I’m fighting for,” Baffert told ESPN. “And I want to fight for this game. The legacy of this game. This game is a very good game. It’s going up and down. I think now it’s cleaner than ever.
“I just think people are finding fault, and the words should come out of there.”
Last week, an obedient police officer called for a two-year suspension of Baffert in New York for repeated drug violations involving his horses that took place in other countries. If approved by the New York Racing Association, Baffert wants to challenge the decision, which could bar him from riding horses in Saratoga in upstate New York when his summer season begins on July 14.
Baffert, who has won seven Preaknesses and three Belmonts in addition to six wins in horse racing, told ESPN that the ointment used at Medina Spirit is “zero” in its performance – “and you will not find a scientist. It will tell you.” [that it did].
“People are getting the wrong information, and this was happening fast,” Baffert added. “Everybody just runs around with fake news. They just run around. They’re still going on with fake news. And it takes time to change, in particular, you know, what I like… I still do we just need a smart, honest person to listen to this – and we have the facts, the tests.
Meanwhile, Baffert told ESPN that he was wasting time “struggling” with the suspension.
“I’m taking this time to train myself, to try to stay healthy, to worry about my health, because everyone was worried about me,” Baffert said, noting that he had no retirement plans. “I spend time with my family, my children, and, you know, go for a walk or two.
As the horses enter the starting line-up on Saturday, Baffert will “lie down” and pull in two of his barns – Messier (8-1 odd) and Taiba (12-1) – and are currently under training. and Tim Yakteen, a former Baffert assistant who has run his cage for 18 years.
“Obviously, I’ll watch the Kentucky Derby,” said Baffert, who can return to running as his 90-day suspension ends on July 2.
“… I still have a lot of fire in me. I enjoy what I do. I love what I do.”
The Associated Press has contributed to this.