Bob Baffert denied stay of suspension by Kentucky commission

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky’s racing director denied trainer Bob Baffert’s request to stay his suspension by stewards in their ruling that also disqualified Medina Spirit as Kentucky Derby winner.

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards suspended Baffert for 90 days, effective March 8 through June 5, and fined the Hall of Fame trainer $7,500. They also stripped the now-deceased Medina Spirit of the victory for testing positive for the steroid betamethasone following the Derby last May 1.

Churchill Downs subsequently elevated runner-up Mandaloun to Derby winner after the stewards’ ruling. The historic track previously suspended Baffert for two years, citing a series of positive tests by his horses.

Marc A. Guilfoil, director of the KHRC, sent a letter to Baffert’s attorneys saying he did “not find good cause” to stay the rulings. Guilfoil added that the attorneys could petition for a review of his decision.

Attorney Clark Brewster countered in a statement that the commission “has always granted” stays to ensure a trainer does not suffer from a wrongful decision that is later reversed on appeal.

“The Commission has apparently decided that Bob Baffert should be treated differently than everyone who came before him,” said Brewster, who added he expects the move to be reversed in court. “This should be seen for what it is: a deliberate, capricious, and malicious effort to deny Bob Baffert his right to appeal the stewards’ ruling under Kentucky law, and to ensure that Bob must suffer even if he ultimately prevails on appeal.”

Baffert is considered the face of horse racing after he guided horses to the Triple Crown in 2015 and 2018. Medina Spirit finished half a length ahead of Mandaloun in the Derby, giving Baffert what was then his seventh title in the race.

Medina Spirit collapsed and died on Dec. 6 of a heart attack following a training run at Santa Anita. His ashes will be interred at a retirement farm for thoroughbred horses in Kentucky.

Old Friends said the colt’s ashes will be interred in a memorial garden alongside 1999 Kentucky Derby winner Charismatic and 2002 Derby winner War Emblem.

Stradivarius, 3-time Ascot Gold Cup winner, retired to stud

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LONDON – Stradivarius, one of the most famous racehorses in Britain and Ireland after winning the Gold Cup at Ascot three times, has been retired to stud.

Bjorn Nielsen, the owner of Stradivarius, said he felt it would be unfair to make the horse come back next season as a 9-year-old after time away with a bruised foot.

“It has been a fairytale from start to finish,” Nielsen told British newspaper The Racing Post.

Stradivarius, bred in Ireland and the son of Sea The Stars, won 20 of his 35 races – including seven Group One races – and earned almost 3.5 million pounds (now $3.8 million) in prize money.

Stradivarius won four Goodwood Cups, three Yorkshire Cups and two Doncaster Cups.

Taiba wins $1 million Pennsylvania Derby for Baffert

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BENSALEM, Pa. – Taiba won the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby by three lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Taiba ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.67 and paid $4.80, $3 and $2.60.

It was Baffert’s fourth win in the Grade 1 event at Parx Racing. He also won in 2014, 2017 and 2018. Smith won the race for the third time, all aboard Baffert horses.

Zandon returned $3.80 and $2.60. Cyberknife was another 3 3/4 lengths back in third and paid $3 to show.

Taiba was coming off a second-place finish in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in July. The colt was 12th in the Kentucky Derby under Tim Yakteen, who took over training him while Baffert was serving a 90-day suspension.

“He had a little bit of a rough trip in the Haskell, but we had some time to get him ready for this one,” Baffert said from his base in California. “He proved today he is a good horse. He is getting better and better.”

Baffert Taiba will be pointed toward the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. The colt has three wins in five starts this year.