Via TD Thornton
Monday’s ruling by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) that disqualified Medina Spirit from the 2021 GI Kentucky Derby has now triggered duel letters to the federal judge overseeing the class action. , in which a betting group is suing coach Bob Baffert for allegedly participating in a years-long racquet pattern based on his purported “doping” Thoroughbreds.
The plaintiffs in the case, led by Michael Beychok, winner of the 2012 National Athletics Championships, on February 22 filed a letter with the United States District Court (District of New Jersey) notifying informed the judge that Medina Spirit was disqualified for taking betamethasone and that Baffert was suspended for 90 days and fined $7,500.
On February 23, Baffert’s lead attorney, W. Craig Robertson, III countered with his own letter alleging that the plaintiffs’ public filing was “inappropriate, misleading, and critical.” most importantly unrelated to the Defendants’ Motion to Remove. is currently pending before the Court”.
Robertson also writes that the KHRC’s decision is not final, because Baffert plans to appeal it.
“While the final status of Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby win is far from being decided, whether or not a horse is disqualified makes no difference when it comes to the legal issues debated in the contest. [Baffert’s motion to dismiss the case]. Simply put, Plaintiff’s letter does nothing to disprove the overwhelming power that Plaintiffs, a group of disgruntled gamblers, cannot sustain the action as a matter of law. ”
The original version of the lawsuit was filed four days after Baffert revealed that the now deceased Medina Spirit had tested positive for betamethasone after winning the Derby on 1 May 2021. Baffert, plus his mixed racing stability, are the defendants.
Class members of the lawsuit allege they were “tricked into losing their possessions” because they placed bets on other horses and combined bets that would have worked if “the horse was drugged.” didn’t win the Derby.
Tuesday’s letter from the plaintiffs appears to indicate that they want the judge to consider KHRC’s February 21 decision against DQ Medina Spirit in ruling on Baffert’s motion to dismiss the currently active case.
Baffert’s attorney stressed that the KHRC’s ruling should not be related to the matter currently being brought before the court, which is dismissing the case.
“[Baffert] motion to dismiss this matter on the following legal grounds: (1) lack of personal jurisdiction over Respondent and inappropriate location; (2) Plaintiffs lack the qualifications to make their claim; and (3) the failure of the Amended Complaint to establish a valid claim under civil RICO or state law. Management’s recent decision does not affect any of these legal arguments.
“First, it does not magically create jurisdiction over Defendants based in California and racing Medina Spirit in Kentucky.
“Secondly, the Management Decision is preliminary and there is already a process underway before KHRC reviews it as it is not the final decision of the administrative body. Only now will the matter undergo a full Administrative Hearing, including discovery and filing.
“Thereafter, any final decision by the KHRC is subject to appeal in the Kentucky state courts. So we are a long way from any final decision regarding Medina Spirit’s status. ”
Robertson continued: “Particularly importantly, even if Medina Spirit were ultimately disqualified, Plaintiffs’ claims would still fail as required by law. Among other reasons, this is because the rules of the race stipulate that pari-mutuel betting is not affected by any status. The Administrator’s judgment which the Plaintiff provided to the Court recognizes this fact when it specifically states ‘The Pari-mutuel bet is not affected by this judgment.’
“The plaintiffs’ argument that disqualification somehow construed a compensable injury has been settled and completely refuted. [in precedent cases]. [T]His precedent could not have been clearer that, among other things, gamblers who lost money through gambling simply did not fall into the category of individuals the law was designed to protect,” wrote Robertson.