Baffert Ban Battle: Kentucky Derby Stakes on the Line

Baffert Ban Battle: Kentucky Derby Stakes on the Line
Baffert Ban Battle: Kentucky Derby Stakes on the Line

The owner of Muth, the winner of the Arkansas Derby, has filed a lawsuit against Churchill Downs Inc., seeking an injunction against the track's ban on Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. The ban prevents Muth from competing in the upcoming Kentucky Derby.

Churchill Downs initially suspended Baffert for two years after his horse Medina Spirit failed a postrace drug test in 2021, leading to its disqualification from the Kentucky Derby. The ban was extended indefinitely in 2022, citing concerns about Baffert's record of drug violations.

Zedan Racing Stables alleges that the ban is illegal and has no basis in fact, and that it is motivated by a personal vendetta against Baffert by Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen. Zedan Racing Stables founder Amr Zedan claims that the ban is compromising the horse racing industry.

Baffert has stated that he hopes his horses will have the opportunity to run at Churchill Downs, but he is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Monday.

Churchill Downs has dismissed the lawsuit as meritless and has stated that lifting the ban would threaten the safety and integrity of races at the track. The track has maintained that the suspension of Baffert and the disqualification of Medina Spirit have been upheld by the courts and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Muth's victory in the Arkansas Derby earned him 100 points, which would normally qualify him for the Kentucky Derby. However, due to the ban, he was denied the points. Muth has a strong racing record, winning both of his starts as a 3-year-old and four of six career starts, earning over $1.5 million.

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