Horse Racing

Baffert appeared at the NYRA hearing; KY next hearing

Bob Baffert testified for about three and a half hours during a hearing on Thursday to determine whether the New York Racing Association (NYRA) could remove the coach for alleged “adverse conduct.” Are not. Much of the testimony included exchanges between the Hall of Fame coach and NYRA attorney Hank Greenberg, whose efforts to tame Baffert were largely unsuccessful. The Hall of Famer stuck with what has been told from his team since his problems with multiple drug violations first surfaced – that each violation is related to different situations. extenuating circumstances explain why he doesn’t deserve severe punishment.

During a marathon day, Baffert revealed that the Kentucky Equestrian Commission has finally set a date, February 7, to begin studying the issue of Medina Spirit (Protonico) testing positive for betamethasone during the Kentucky GI year. 2021 Derby. Baffert said he was briefed by attorney Clark Brewster about the hearing. The Kentucky Commission has yet to make any announcements about a hearing date on the Medina Spirit matter.

Typical in the NYRA hearing was Baffert and Greenberg’s back-and-forth on the subject of betamethasone-positive Gamine (Into Mischief) after she finished third in the 2020 GI Kentucky Oaks. Baffert asserted that he gave Gamine the drug 18 days before the race when the rules only forbade its use within 14 days of the start.

“You drove a horse that was eliminated from the most important race for 3-year-olds in America, didn’t you? That’s a very important result, isn’t it? ” Greenberg asked

“It is an absurd result,” Baffert replied.

Greenberg also made Baffert’s announcement in November 2020 that he was hiring Dr Michael Hore of the Hagyard Equestrian Institute to “add an extra layer of protection to ensure the health of the horses in my care.” and follow the rules.” Hore later revealed that he had never worked for Baffert. Baffert said that the only thing that kept Hore from completing those missions was the pandemic.

“You didn’t do it, Mr. Baffert,” Greenberg said of his promise to bring Hore on board. “Right or not?”

“Can’t do it because of COVID,” Baffert replied. “He will come in January but he can’t come.”

“Is that your way of saying, no, I don’t hire Dr. Hore?” Greenberg replied. “You didn’t hire him.”

“He couldn’t get through because of COVID,” Baffert said. “He can’t get there until late spring.”

The hearing quickly turned to a series of press conferences and interviews with Baffert after it was reported that Medina Spirit had tested positive. Greenberg alleges that Baffert’s media tour damaged the sport because he brought up things like conspiracy theories. For Baffert, his answer marked the rare time he admitted some guilt. At the end of the hearing, he said if he had to do it again, he wouldn’t accept those interviews.

“I used the word ‘unculture’ and what I meant was ‘knees,'” Baffert said. “Saying “destroy the culture” is a bad move on my part.”

But Baffert says he’s making such claims because he’s being pressed.

“I am very sad,” Baffert said. “It was just raw emotion, knowing I didn’t give that horse betamethasone. I know something is wrong. ”

Asked if he understood that what he said was harmful to the reputation of the sport, Baffert replied: “This is something that really hit me hard. This is the Kentucky Derby, the greatest race ever. This is a coach’s nightmare.”

Before it was Greenberg’s turn, Baffert attorney Craig Robertson led the trainer through a series of questions including his take on what happened to Medina Spirit. Baffert reiterated his view that the drug enters the horse’s system not through injection but through the use of a topical ointment, Otomax, to treat skin conditions. Baffert, who initially said there couldn’t be betamethasone in Medina Spirit’s system, said he did so because he never thought the drug could be in the skin ointment. However, it is worth noting that it clearly states on the box of Otomax that the ointment contains betamethasone.

Baffert admits that the controversy has affected both him and his family and adds that his stolen horses include Life Is Good (Into Mischief), whom he calls “the best horse trainer.” in U.S.A”.

“It was tough and tough,” he said. “But it’s one of those things where we know that we have the truth and the truth. It is probably more difficult for my children. ”

The hearing began with the testimony of Dr. Clara Fenger, a former state veterinarian with the Kentucky Equestrian Commission. Robertson went through the positive drugs Baffert had encountered and asked each one if the drugs involved were performance-enhancing, could mask any wounds, and had any pharmacological effects. Fenger answered no on every occasion.

Next up is Dr. Steven Barker, longtime director of the Drug Monitoring Laboratory and state chemist for the Louisiana Racing Commission. Like Fenger, Barker said none of Baffert’s violations were particularly serious.

“Nothing here matches the narrative surrounding this case and the actions of the NYRA,” he said. “None of this can be considered doping. None of this should be considered an attempt to affect performance. These are extremely low-level conventional therapies.”

The hearing will continue on Friday, with closing statements expected.

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