Bob Baffert Sues Churchill Downs Over Suspension for Medina Spirit's Failed Drug Test

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMarch 1, 2022

DEL MAR, CA- NOVEMBER 6:  Trainer Bob Baffert at Del Mar Race Track on November 6, 2021 in Del Mar, California. (Photo by Horsephotos/Getty Images)
Horsephotos/Getty Images

Bob Baffert has filed a federal lawsuit against Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) to potentially overturn his two-year ban from the iconic racetrack, per Tim Sullivan of the Louisville Courier Journal

"CDI has, with malicious intent, caused significant damage to Baffert’s ability to conduct his customary business on a national scale," Baffert's complaint read. "From context, it is apparent that CDI’s targeted sanctions have the singular aim of destroying Baffert’s career."

The two-year ban was announced in June after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, which was trained by Baffert, tested positive for a steroid.

Baffert also has a 90-day suspension imposed by Kentucky stewards set to begin on March 8, but the trainer's attorneys filed a motion in Franklin Circuit Court on Monday seeking a stay of the suspension through a court order or a temporary injunction.

Joe Drape of the New York Times reported in January that Baffert was threatening a lawsuit against Churchill Downs, but the organization responded that it wouldn't back down from its suspension:

Churchill Downs @ChurchillDowns

Our statement regarding today's <a href="https://twitter.com/nytimes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nytimes</a> article. <a href="https://t.co/6lN2hiKdW0">https://t.co/6lN2hiKdW0</a> <a href="https://t.co/RtMjB6AB4c">pic.twitter.com/RtMjB6AB4c</a>

Baffert successfully used the courts to nullify his suspension by the New York Racing Association last July. 

The 69-year-old has been one of the most successful trainers in horse racing history, twice leading horses to the Triple Crown. He would have had seven wins at the Kentucky Derby if not for Medina Spirit being stripped of the title last month. His six victories are still tied for the most ever with Ben A. Jones.

The 2022 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for May 7.