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New York Bans Trainer Bob Baffert for a Year

The latest set of news emerging from the Empire State’s horse racing industry is that the New York Racing Association has suspended Bob Baffert. NYRA has now banned the prominent horse trainer from the state’s track for a year. However, the association informed that this will not affect the Arizona-born trainer’s Hall of Fame status.

Mr. Baffert was involved in a legal battle against the association, after one of his trainees, Medina Spirit, tested positive for an illegal substance. This occurred after the horse won the Kentucky Derby in the summer of 2021, and after that, the association raised numerous charges against the Hall of Fame trainer.

A Decision is Made

On June 23, 2022, a three-member panel ruled that the 69 year’s old Mr. Baffert will be banned from tracks of the New York Racing Association for a calendar year. This includes Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Track, and the Aqueduct Racetrack. That is not all, as he has also been imposed a 90-day ban at Churchill Downs by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Dave O’Rourke, President and CEO of NYRA, commented that the process was an impartial and deliberate trial which resulted in the ban of one of the industry’s most prominent names. However, he indicated that this is not only about Mr. Baffert or any other individual, but it is rather about protecting the integrity of the horse racing industry in the Empire State.

After the ruling, the trainer did not provide a comment on the situation. It must also be mentioned that he cannot appeal the NYRA decision. However, he was credited with 59 days already served. After calculations, he will now be able to enter horses for the 2023 Belmont Stakes. His NYRA suspension will be lifted on January 25, 2023.

Brien Bouyea, the Hall of Fame and communications director informed that Mr. Baffert’s status at the Hall of Fame will not be affected by this ruling. Mr. Bouyea said that the Election to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is an honor that reflects the viewpoint of the independent nationwide voting panel at a particular time for a particular candidate. And that is why it is something that cannot be revoked.

Increasing Purses

More news from NYRA includes its late June announcement through which the organization announced that it will be boosting its purses for the 2022 Saratoga summer meet. It will be taking place at its historic Saratoga Race Course and is slated to start on July 14, 2022, and run through September 5, 2022. And this year’s schedule will feature almost an increase in purses of almost US$1.4 million.

Possible Future Plans

A recent interview from NYRA’s Chairperson, Marc Holliday, suggests that the association may consider closing down its Aqueduct Racetrack. Mr. Holliday hinted that racing at the track could come to an end after the organization completes the long-awaited upgrades at Belmont Park. The plan is to modernize the latter to be able to host winter events.

Source: Red, Christian “Bob Baffert Suspended One Year By New York Racing Association, But Hall Of Fame Status Remains Intact”, Forbes, July 1, 2022

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Yolina has followed closely the latest development on the Canadian gaming scene over the past years, monitoring the land-based, lottery, and online offerings up for grabs. The dynamic nature of the local lottery and casino fields, as well as the opportunities lying ahead of Canada fire her enthusiasm for what is to come. A sports betting enthusiast, in her spare time Yolina could be found in her natural habitat – turning the pages of biographies and catching up on the latest stand-up comedy podcasts.