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Breeders' Cup clears Baffert to compete in Del Mar with conditions

Bob Baffert
Charlie Riedel / AP
/
AP
In this April 28, 2021, file photo, horse trainer Bob Baffert watches workouts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Bob Baffert can enter horses in the Breeders’ Cup next month at Del Mar, but the event’s all-time money-leading trainer has to meet certain conditions, including stricter out-of-competition testing of his horses and greater security at his barn.

The conditions are the result of a review by the Breeders’ Cup board to decide Baffert’s participation in the two-day world championships on Nov. 5-6 at the seaside track north of San Diego. The review was triggered by Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s failed postrace drug test in May.

The colt trained by Baffert tested positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has yet to issue a final verdict as part of its investigation into the matter. Churchill Downs suspended Baffert for two years.

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In a separate matter, Baffert is fighting the New York Racing Association, which wants to ban him from running its tracks.

The Hall of Fame trainer has had five failed drug tests dating back to May 2, 2020.

The Breeders' Cup said in a statement Sunday that “in the interest of fairness,” Baffert was given advance notice and a chance to participate in its review, which he did.

“Based on the totality of the circumstances, Breeders’ Cup has decided to require all horses trained by Mr. Baffert to undergo enhanced out-of-competition, pre- and post-race testing and other security protocols, at his own expense," the statement said.

The extra conditions required of Baffert are “to provide a more targeted layer of accountability,” the Breeders' Cup said. Baffert agreed to each of the conditions, the Lexington-based board said.

Baffert has several contenders in the Breeders' Cup, including Medina Spirit in the Classic, Gamine in the Filly & Mare Sprint, Private Mission in the Distaff and Corniche and Pinehurst in the Juvenile.