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Baffert wins at Santa Anita before 90-day suspension begins

bob baffert

ARCADIA, Calif. - Bob Baffert won the sixth race at Santa Anita, sending the Hall of Fame trainer out a winner two days before his 90-day suspension begins.

Baffert was in the winner’s circle with Shaaz after the $72,000 race. He was joined by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who was aboard for the 2 3/4-length victory.

In Hot Springs, Arkansas, Cezanne finished second in the $400,000 Oaklawn Mile, losing by a neck. Baffert decided to scratch Eda from her scheduled start in the $600,000 Fantasy Stakes at the same track.

Baffert has 21 victories in 66 starts and earnings of $2.6 million so far this year.

But on Friday, the Kentucky Court of Appeals rejected Baffert’s motion for emergency relief from his 90-day suspension by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. His suspension is the result of medication violations involving some of his horses, including Medina Spirit.

Signage outside Baffert’s barn at Santa Anita was removed as part of a California Horse Racing Board rule that mandates any trainer who is suspended for 60 days or more be banned from all CHRB-licensed facilities.

Baffert had already transferred four promising 3-year-old colts to other trainers so they can run in major prep races and potentially earn points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby on May 7.

The CHRB said Saturday that Baffert will be banned from all CHRB-licensed facilities and won’t be permitted to be involved in the training of horses that have previously been under his care.

Any trainer at Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields, Los Alamitos or San Luis Rey Downs who may have horses transferred to their barn from Baffert will have to apply for stalls for those horses to the tracks’ racing offices, which will make the final decision.

Any Baffert horses not transferred to a trainer in California will have to leave Santa Anita before Monday. The track’s winter-spring meet ends June 19.

Churchill Downs has suspended Baffert for the 2022 and 2023 Kentucky Derbies. He is fighting that ban in federal court.

His suspension will be honored in all 38 racing states.