David O’Rourke, the president and chief executive of the New York association, said Judge Amon did uphold its authority to “exclude individuals from its racetracks whose conduct is contrary to the best interests of thoroughbred racing” and said that this was not the end of its efforts to hold Baffert accountable.
“NYRA is reviewing the court’s decision today to determine our legal options and next steps,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “What is clear, however, is that Mr. Baffert’s actions and behavior can either elevate or damage the sport. We expect Mr. Baffert to exert appropriate controls over his operation.”
At least five of Baffert’s horses have failed drug tests in a little over a year, and he has had 30 failed tests in his career.
Still, a possible disqualification is months away and destined to be tied up in the courts for years. First, Kentucky racing officials will conduct a hearing and issue a ruling. If they disqualify Medina Spirit and either suspend or fine Baffert, he could appeal to the full state commission. If the unfavorable ruling is still not overturned, he could pursue a remedy in civil court.
In 1968, the Derby victory by Dancer’s Image was rescinded after a drug test showed the presence of a banned anti-inflammatory. It took four years before the horse was irrevocably disqualified.