Report: N.Y. hearing goes forward after Baffert motions rejected

Report: N.Y. hearing goes forward after Baffert motions rejected
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Bob Baffert’s attempts to stop or delay his upcoming hearing before the New York Racing Association have failed.

O. Peter Sherwood, a former New York state judge who will serve as hearing officer, on Wednesday rejected motions by Baffert’s attorneys to recuse himself and to dismiss the hearing, BloodHorse reported Thursday.

The hearing before NYRA is scheduled to begin Monday and could last more than one day. The organization alleges that Baffert committed conduct detrimental to racing, the health and safety of horses and jockeys, and NYRA business operations.

NYRA suspended Baffert last year after the trainer revealed that 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test. Baffert’s attorneys fought that suspension in federal court and secured an injunction halting it on due process grounds.

With his suspension on hold, Baffert continued racing last year in New York. He saddled Gamine to a Grade 1 victory in Saratoga’s Ballerina Handicap and shipped Rockefeller for a score in Belmont Park’s Nashua Stakes (G3).

NYRA now hopes to reinstate that suspension. It will have the burden of proof in its hearing against Baffert before Sherwood.

Baffert’s attorneys in their motion for recusal argued that Sherwood had a pecuniary interest in the proceedings and had prejudged the merits. Sherwood responded that the trainer’s team “presented not a scintilla of evidence” in support of that claim, BloodHorse reported.

The motion for dismissal was based on NYRA’s Racing Committee scheduling the hearing without an affirmative vote of the Board of Directors. Sherwood also rejected that claim, saying that it was both untimely and failed on the merits.

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