NEW YORK (AP) Gamine led all the way in winning the $300,000 Acorn Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 18 3/4 lengths at Belmont on Saturday.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Gamine ran one mile in 1:32.55, fastest in the 90-year history of the race. Her time was just off the track record of 1:32.24 set by Najran in 2003. Gamine earned 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks on Sept. 4 at Churchill Downs.
Gamine is one of two horses trained by Baffert that tested positive for a banned substance at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. She won a race there on May 2. Published reports said Gamine, along with Charlatan, tested positive for lidocaine, a regulated anesthetic widely used in equine medicine.
It’s considered a Class 2 drug by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, and use of it carries a penalty of a 15- to 60-day suspension and a fine of $500 to $1,000 for a first offense. Without mitigating circumstances, a horse would be disqualified and forfeit its purse. Results of B sample tests have not been announced by the Arkansas Racing Commission.
Under Hall of Fame John Velazquez, Gamine won her stakes debut and improved to 3-0 in her career. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, she paid $3.40 to win. The victory boosted her career earnings to $234,000. Gamine was purchased for $1.8 million.
“She did everything I wanted her to do,” said Velazquez, whose fifth win in the Acorn tied Mike Smith for most in the race among jockeys. “She’s a little bit on the aggressive side, but I let her relax around the backstretch. Once we got to the five-sixteenths pole I let her run. By the quarter-pole she opened up so quickly I had to look back. She’s very nice and professional. I wish they were all that easy.”
Pleasant Orb finished second, and Water White was another half-length back in third.
NEW YORK — Forte, the early Kentucky Derby favorite who was scratched on the day of the race, worked out in preparation for a possible start in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.
Under regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr., Forte worked five-eighths of a mile for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. It was the colt’s second workout since being scratched from the Derby on May 6.
“It seems like he’s maintained his fitness level,” Pletcher said. “It seems like everything is in good order.”
Forte was placed on a mandatory 14-day veterinary list after being scratched from the Derby because of a bruised right front foot. In order to be removed from the list, the colt had to work in front of a state veterinarian and give a blood sample afterward, the results of which take five days.
“There’s protocols in place and we had to adhere to those and we’re happy that everything went smoothly,” Pletcher said. “We felt confident the horse was in good order or we wouldn’t have been out there twice in the last six days, but you still want to make sure everything went smoothly and we’re happy everything did go well.”
Pletcher said Kingsbarns, who finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby, will miss the Belmont. The colt is showing signs of colic, although he is fine, the trainer said.
Another Pletcher-trained horse, Prove Worthy, is under consideration for the Belmont. He also has Tapit Trice, who finished seventh in the Derby, being pointed toward the Belmont.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge has granted Churchill Downs’ motion for summary judgment that dismisses Bob Baffert’s claim the track breached due process by suspending the Hall of Fame trainer for two years.
Churchill Downs Inc. suspended Baffert in June 2021 after his now-deceased colt, Medina Spirit, failed a postrace drug test after crossing the finish line first in the 147th Kentucky Derby. The trainer’s request to lift the discipline was denied in February, keeping him out of the Derby for a second consecutive May.
U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings ruled in a 12-page opinion issued Wednesday that Churchill Downs’ suspension of Baffert did not devalue his Kentucky trainer’s license. It cited his purse winnings exceeding $1 million at Keeneland in Lexington and stated that his argument “amounts to a false analogy that distorts caselaw.”
Jennings denied CDI’s motion to stay discovery as moot.
The decision comes less than a week after Baffert-trained colt National Treasure won the Preakness in his first Triple Crown race in two years. His record eighth win in the second jewel of the Triple Crown came hours after another of his horses, Havnameltdown, was euthanized following an injury at Pimlico.
Churchill Downs said in a statement that it was pleased with the court’s favorable ruling as in Baffert’s other cases.
It added, “While he may choose to file baseless appeals, this completes the seemingly endless, arduous and unnecessary litigation proceedings instigated by Mr. Baffert.”
Baffert’s suspension is scheduled to end on June 2, but the track’s release noted its right to extend it “and will communicate our decision” at its conclusion.