Baffert transfers 4 Kentucky Derby prospects to other coaches

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Bob Baffert has traded four of his promising 3-year-old colts to other trainers, which will earn them qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby while the Hall of Fame trainer does appealing his 90-day suspension.

Baffert on Thursday traded Messier, Doppelganger and McLaren Vale to Santa Anita-based coach Tim Yakteen. Blackadder was sent to Kentucky to train under Rudolphe Brisset. All four colts are owned by SF Racing LLC and others.

“We salute Bob for making the difficult but necessary decision that will allow them to prove themselves as top racing talent this year,” said Tom Ryan of SF Racing LLC.

The measures came four days after a Kentucky judge denied Baffert’s request to suspend his 90-day suspension, but postponed it until April 4 to allow his lawyers to seek emergency assistance from the court. State Court of Appeals.

Last month, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards suspended Baffert for 90 days, fined him $7,500 and disqualified Medina Spirit for having the corticosteroid betamethasone in his system when he won the Derby of Kentucky last year. Baffert’s suspension was originally scheduled to begin March 8.

Baffert’s attorneys said they would immediately appeal to the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

“Churchill has imposed unprecedented unilateral requirements and restrictions on the participation of these horses,” said Clark Brewster, Baffert’s attorney. “The legal challenges on Bob’s behalf may not be finalized for several months. Therefore, the transfer of training from Bob to Mr. Yakteen will mitigate the losses – at least with respect to these four horses – for the duration of the Administrative Agency and Court proceedings.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission said in its original ruling that all horses owned or trained by Baffert are denied entry pending transfer to “persons acceptable to stewards.” It was not immediately clear who the stewards would deem acceptable.

Messier won the Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on February 6. Doppelganger finished second and McLaren Vale finished third in the San Felipe Stakes on March 5. Blackadder won the El Camino Real Derby on February 12 at Golden Gate Fields.

At the time, neither colt earned qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby on May 7 because Baffert was banned for two years by Churchill Downs Inc. He is suing CDI in federal court.

Messier is headed to the Santa Anita Derby on April 9. Blackadder is expected to participate in an East Coast prep for the Kentucky Derby. The biggest point offers are coming over the next month.

“The most important thing for me is that Messier, Doppelganger, McLaren Vale and Blackadder – some of the best talent in racing this year – are able to compete,” Baffert said in a statement. “I encouraged the owners to move them, not only because it’s better for these horses and their racing future, but also for the fans of the sport who are thrilled to see them race. I know they’re between great hands to practice with Tim and Rudy, and I can’t wait to cheer them on.


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