Timeline of events: Bob Baffert's drug melodrama 2018-2021

Timeline of events: Bob Baffert's drug melodrama 2018-2021
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s latest filing in the Bob Baffert case over Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby drug samples is another chapter in what has been an complicated several years for Baffert.

Below is a timeline of events in the trainer’s recent struggles with drug violations in major races.


April 5: Foal date for Medina Spirit, a Protonico colt out of Mongolan Changa, by Brilliant Speed. The colt was bred in Florida by Gail Rice.

April 7: Justify wins the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his stakes debut. The Scat Daddy colt, unraced as a 2-year-old, qualifies for the Kentucky Derby.

Following the race, the colt tested positive for scopolamine, a result that was not brought to light until later.

May 5: Justify wins the Kentucky Derby.

June 9: Justify wins the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown.


Sept. 11: The New York Times reports on Justify’s Santa Anita Derby drug test, alleging the California Horse Racing Board failed to follow usual protocol for the test.


May 2: Charlatan wins a division of the Arkansas Derby (G1) for Baffert at Oaklawn. Gamine wins an allowance race on the same day.

May 26: It is revealed that both Charlatan and Gamine tested positive for lidocaine after their May 2 races at Oaklawn. Baffert eventually blames an assistant trainer’s back patch for the positives.

July 15: Charlatan and Gamine are disqualified from their respective wins. Baffert is suspended for 15 days in Arkansas, but vows to appeal the decision.

Sept. 4: Gamine finishes third in the rescheduled Kentucky Oaks.

Oct. 22: It is revealed that Gamine’s Oaks day drug sample tested positive for betamethasone. Baffert claims the medication was given 18 days before the race, outside of the 14-day withdrawal period required in Kentucky.

Nov. 4: Baffert announces the hiring of a veterinarian to his staff to insure future compliance with drug rules.

Dec. 9: Santa Anita stewards announce their final decision on the Justify matter and throw out appeals that could have disqualified him from the 2018 Santa Anita Derby. The stewards agreed with Baffert’s assertion that the positive was the result of tainted feed.


Feb. 4: Gamine is disqualified from the 2020 Kentucky Oaks due to the betamethasone positive.

April 20: The Arkansas Racing Commission restores Charlatan and Gamine’s wins from 2020 and rescinds Baffert’s suspension. It instead fines Baffert $5,000 per horse.

May 1: Medina Spirit wins the Kentucky Derby.

May 9: Baffert announces Medina Sprit tested positive for betamethasone after the Derby.

May 14: Bettors who put money on Mandaloun, who crossed the wire second in the Derby, sue Baffert and Churchill Downs Inc.

May 17: The New York Racing Association announces Baffert is indefinitely suspended from Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga.

June 2: Medina Spirit’s split sample is reported as positive. CDI, which had previously indefinitely suspended Baffert, announces it will ban him from its tracks for two years.

The California Horse Racing Board announces it will not take action against Baffert until the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission completes its investigation.

June 8: Baffert and Medina Spirit owner Amr Zedan file a lawsuit against the KHRC, asking a judge to force the commission to let them test the urine sample and attempt to prove the betamethasone positive was caused by a skin cream as opposed to an injection.

June 11: Judge Thomas Wingate says the KHRC will have to give up the split urine sample for further testing.

June 14: Bob Baffert sues NYRA to appeal his suspension.

July 14: Judge Carol Bagley Amon rules that NYRA acted unconstitutionally in suspending Baffert without due process, and issues an injunction that will allow him to race. Bagley Amon does not permanently stop NYRA from suspending Baffert, saying the organization likely has the authority once the trainer is given a hearing.

July 20: The KHRC accuses a New York laboratory of depleting Medina Spirit’s primary urine sample. July 22: Baffert and Zedan's attorneys file their response to the KHRC's allegations. Aug. 9: Judge Thomas Wingate says he will not issue any orders, tells the KHRC and Baffert's lawyers to get the drug test results.

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