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New York Racing Association suspends Bob Baffert, who will miss Belmont Stakes

Bob Baffert spoke with the media in front of his barn on the backside of Churchill Downs the day after his seventh victory in the Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit. May 2, 2021 Aj4t9290

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) suspended trainer Bob Baffert on Monday, preventing him from starting any horses in the June 5 Belmont Stakes.

The Hall of Famer will not be able to run horses at any of the three NYRA racetracks for the duration of the suspension.

The terms also dictate that for the time being, Baffert may not have a barn or stall at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course or Aqueduct Racetrack.

According to reports, Baffert had as many as five horses hit with medication violations in the past 13 months, most prominently Medina Spirit, who won the May 1 Kentucky Derby.

The industry is still awaiting results of a new test on Medina Spirit after the horse tested positive for the banned steroid betamethasone, and NYRA said those results, as well as other factors, will determine the details of the suspension.

“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 Monday in a statement.

“That responsibility demands the action taken today in the best interests of thoroughbred racing.”

Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes saddled Medina Spirit in last Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, where the 3-year-old colt finished third.

The Belmont Stakes is the final leg of racing’s Triple Crown, which was swept most recently by American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018, both trained by Baffert.

–Field Level Media