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Churchill Downs’ granted summary judgment to dismiss Baffert’s lawsuit



LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A federal judge has granted Churchill Downs’ motion for summary judgment dismissing Bob Baffert’s claim that the track violated due process by suspending the Hall of Fame trainer for two years.

Churchill Downs Inc. Baffert suspended in June 2021 when his now-deceased colt, Medina Spirit, failed a post-race drug test after crossing the finish line first in the 147th Kentucky Derby. The trainer’s request to remove the discipline was rejected in February, keeping him out of the Derby for the second May in a row.

U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings ruled in a 12-page opinion issued Wednesday that Churchill Downs’ suspension of Baffert did not devalue his Kentucky trainer’s license. He cited his purse earnings that exceeded $1 million at Keeneland in Lexington and stated that his argument “is a false analogy that distorts the case law.”

Jennings denied CDI’s motion to stay discovery for argument.

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The decision comes less than a week after the Baffert-trained colt National Treasure won the Preakness in his first Triple Crown Race in two years. His record seventh victory in the second leg of the Triple Crown came hours after another of his horses, Havnameltdown, was euthanized following an injury.

Churchill Downs said in a statement that it was pleased with the court’s favorable ruling as in Baffert’s other cases.

He added, “While he may choose to file unfounded appeals, this completes the seemingly endless, burdensome and unnecessary litigation proceedings initiated by Mr. Baffert.”

Baffert’s suspension is scheduled to end on June 2, but the track release noted that he had the right to extend it “and will communicate our decision” at his finish.

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