NYRA suspends Bob Baffert for next 7 months

NYRA suspends Bob Baffert for next 7 months
Photo: Benoit Photo

A three-member hearing panel Thursday suspended trainer Bob Baffert from all New York Racing Association tracks for the next seven months.

The panel’s decision to suspend Baffert for one years credited him with 59 days served under the prior NYRA temporary suspension as well as the 90-day suspension issued by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and reciprocally honored by the New York State Gaming Commission. Accordingly, Baffert is excluded from participating in racing or training activities at all NYRA tracks through Jan. 25.

“This was an impartial and deliberative process that has resulted in a lengthy suspension of the sport’s most prominent trainer,” said Dave O’Rourke, NYRA president and CEO. “However, this is not simply about Bob Baffert or any one individual but about protecting the integrity of the sport here in New York. Today’s decision advances that goal.”

In September 2021, NYRA delivered a statement of charges to Baffert, alleging that he had engaged in conduct detrimental to the best interests of the sport of Thoroughbred racing or potentially injurious to the health or safety of horses or riders.

NYRA further charged that the conduct warranted revocation or suspension of Baffert’s right to train horses, enter races, or engage in any racing-related activity at all NYRA properties, including Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga.

NYRA established hearing rules and procedures to provide a formalized mechanism for a respondent to reply to charges and to participate in a hearing in accordance with due process rights. This resulted in a two-month review of the 50-page hearing report.

As addressed in the NYRA hearing rules and procedures, the decision of the hearing panel was “final” and took effect “immediately.” Further, rule 16(f) stated that, “There shall be no administrative appeal within NYRA of the panel’s final decision.”

Baffert is allowed to return to racing in other jurisdictions Sunday, July 3, when his Kentucky suspension is complete.

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