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Hold your horses.
Embattled Medina Spirit trainer Bob Baffert has been temporarily suspended by the New York Racing Association, disqualifying him from the Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the sport’s Triple Crown.
His latest horse, Medina Spirit, had already missed out on Triple Crown immortality by finishing only third in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes.
But Baffert, the colt’s trainer, will not be allowed to stable any horses at any of the association’s racetracks, including Aqueduct Saratoga and Belmont Park, which will host the Belmont Stakes on June 5.
Baffert is still under fire after Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned steroid after his Kentucky Derby win.
The NYRA said the length and terms of the hall of fame trainer’s suspension will be based on the outcome of a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission investigation into Medina Spirit’s failed drug test.
“In order to maintain a successful thoroughbred racing industry in New York, NYRA must protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants,” NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said. “That responsibility demands the action taken today in the best interests of thoroughbred racing.”
Baffert had not committed to entering any horses in the third leg of the Triple Crown but had many in consideration for other races on Belmont Stakes day.
Baffert declined to comment on the suspension.
Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid betamethasone in post race testing and faces disqualification unless a second test comes back negative.
Baffert has had five violations involving impermissible levels of medication in his horses over the past 13 months.