New York Racing Association suspends Bob Baffert with Belmont Stakes in less than three weeks

The New York Racing Association has temporarily suspended trainer Bob Baffert from entering any horses in races at the track that is host to the Belmont Stakes in less than three weeks.

Baffert horses cannot occupy stall space at NYRA facilities at Belmont Park. The Hall of Fame trainer’s horses are also banned from Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack, the organization announced Monday.

The NYRA said the length and terms of Baffert’s suspension will be based on information revealed during the ongoing investigation by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission into Medina Spirit’s failed drug test after the colt’s Kentucky Derby win.

Baffert declined to comment after the news broke.

The Belmont Stakes, the third race in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, is set to run June 5 at Belmont Park.

“In order to maintain a successful thoroughbred racing industry in New York, NYRA must protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants,” NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said. “That responsibility demands the action taken today in the best interests of thoroughbred racing.”

In its statement, the NYRA cites Medina Spirit’s failed post-race drug test as well as other instances involving Baffert-trained horses as contributing factors to the suspension.

“(The) NYRA has taken into account the fact that other horses trained by Mr. Baffert have failed drug tests in the recent past, resulting in the assessment of penalties against him by thoroughbred racing regulators in Kentucky, California, and Arkansas,” the news release says.

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