Bob Baffert has been granted a preliminary injunction in his lawsuit against the New York Racing Association – which allows him to run horses once more at their three tracks, pending a final hearing.
The decision by Judge Carol Bagley Amon came two days after a court heard in New York from Baffert’s attorney Craig Robertson, who argued the Hall of Fame trainer had suffered irrefutable damage and had been denied due process given the NYRA had banned him from having runners at Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct.
The NYRA banned Baffert after his Medina Spirit failed a post-race test following his victory in the Kentucky Derby, a fifth positive from a Baffert-trained horse in a 12-month period.
Baffert is also currently barred from Churchill Downs, but that issue was not the focus of this particular hearing.
Judge Amon stated “due process required that Baffert, having an undisputed property interest in his licensed right to race horses in New York, was entitled to a pre-suspension hearing,” which NYRA did not allow him.
Robertson told www.bloodhorse.com via a statement: “I have said from the beginning that, following the Kentucky Derby, there was an improper rush to judgment and Mr Baffert has been treated unfairly. This is one step, in one venue, toward righting those wrongs.”
Medina Spirit tested positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone, which it is claimed was in a topical ointment used to treat a skin issue. The drug is allowed in a therapeutic capacity in Kentucky but is not allowed at any level on race day.