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Bob Baffert is splitting silver hairs in new lawsuit

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Gilligan | USA TODAY Sports

Whatever Bob Baffert is paying hourly for his attorney is not enough. This man is scraping the bottom of the legal barrel to find any excuse to keep his seventh Kentucky Derby win.

As you are all aware by now, Medina Spirit failed its post-race drug test after crossing the finish line first at Kentucky Derby 147. Multiple samples revealed Medina Spirit had at least twice the permissible amount of betamethasone in its system on Derby day. Since the initial failed test was revealed, the Baffert spin has been… remarkable. Now Baffert is taking his spin to court.

WDRB reports that Baffert’s attorney has filed a lawsuit to coerce the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to provide further tests to Medina Spirit’s urine. If the evidence is clear that the horse had betamethasone in its system, why are more tests necessary? Baffert’s team believes more tests could prove the drug was entered the horse’s system as a topical, not an injection.

“While the KHRC’s regulations address Betamethasone injections, they do not discuss or include any reference to the use of Betamethasone as a component of a topical ointment or cream,” the complaint says.

The KHRC’s rules do not refer to its use as an injection or a topical because it does not matter. It explicitly prohibits more than 10 picograms of the anti-inflammatory on race day, although it could be used therapeutically up to two weeks before a race. The two test results found 21 and 25 picograms of the prohibited drug present, without identifying the source, something Baffert’s team believes is necessary to know before the KHRC makes a decision.

If you would like to hear Baffert’s attorney make his case, he was grilled by CNN last week.

Baffert’s team admitted the horse took a topical ointment. Now they are arguing that they did not break the rules because the drug was a topical, not an injection. Let’s use a different analogy or two.

Let’s say you work for a business that drug tests its employees for marijuana. One night you feel comfortable that you’ll pass a drug test, so you kick back, relax and enjoy a pot brownie. When boss discovers the following day that you failed a drug test, do you think he’ll care that you ate it instead of smoking it? No. He’s still going to fire you.

Let’s take drugs out of the equation. Once upon a time your mother told you, “Don’t you eat a snack. You’ll spoil your dinner.” Instead of eating a snack, you slurp down a milkshake. While technically the rules weren’t broken because you drank your snack, the results are still the same, dinner is spoiled.

Splitting hairs by arguing facts that don’t matter will not change the final result, yet Baffert is dragging out Medina Spirit’s impending disqualification as long as possible by fighting a war against the KHRC he won’t win.

Churchill Downs has suspended Baffert for two years, regardless of the KHRC’s final ruling. It’s safe to say that the addition of this lawsuit should delay the decision to take down Medina Spirit as the race’s winner, but no matter how many suits Bobby B files, by the first Saturday in May of 2022 Medina Spirit will not be the official winner of Kentucky Derby 147.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

5 Comments for Bob Baffert is splitting silver hairs in new lawsuit

  1. Dustin Rumbaugh
    4:35 pm June 8, 2021 Permalink

    Haha. Nick you might have a future career as an attorney. I didn’t eat my snack, I drank it. TJ make em pay would be proud. haha.

  2. Bluenblood
    5:44 pm June 8, 2021 Permalink

    Who is his lawyer?

  3. Catsfan1715
    6:12 pm June 8, 2021 Permalink

    I think the context definitely matters. The rule is in place to prevent injury to the horse and disallow a competitive advantage in the race. If this was used as a topical cream it provides 0 competitive advantage and therefore the spirit of the rule wasn’t broken albeit the letter of it was. Not arguing the letter of the rule itself wasn’t broken, just saying if you’re comparing it to eating vs smoking pot it’s not the same argument. A better analogy might be, did you use gold bond cream for eczema or did you shoot cortisone into your shoulder …? One provides a performance advantage, one clearly does not. Further, if a horse were to have received an injection or dose that did provide a competitive advantage, it wouldn’t be registered in picograms, it would be in nanograms as the levels would be much much higher.

  4. Bluenblood
    7:03 pm June 8, 2021 Permalink

    Well spoken Catsfan……I always wonder that a tiny particle of matter supercedes the incredible fitness from professional trining over a years time that is really responsible for the performance of these magnificent specimens. They arent winning because of a speck of a substance

  5. friendsofcoal
    12:21 am June 9, 2021 Permalink

    Yeah Nicks analogy isn’t even close to what his attorney is saying. Eating or smoking is the same IMO but rubbing pot on my arm vs smoking it would sound better.