Baffert Denied Injunction To Race in Derby; CDI Prevails In 5 of 6 Counts for Dismissal

A federal judge on Friday denied Bob Baffert a preliminary injunction that the Hall-of-Fame trainer had sought to be eligible to race in this year’s GI Kentucky Derby.
Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), the defendant in Baffert’s year-old lawsuit, also scored a legal victory Feb. 17 when Judge Rebecca Jennings of United States District Court (Western District of Kentucky) granted the gaming corporation’s motion to dismiss the case on five of the six counts that CDI had argued.

Baffert was attempting to reverse the second year of a two-year ban by CDI that prohibits his trainees from racing at CDI-controlled tracks, accruing Derby qualifying points, and competing in the Derby.

CDI first imposed that punishment in June 2021 because of a string of drug positives in horses Baffert trained, including two in CDI’s most prominent races, the 2020 GI Kentucky Oaks and the 2021 Derby.

“Churchill Downs is pleased that the Court denied Mr. Baffert’s demand for a preliminary injunction and granted our motion to dismiss on all but one claim, and on that claim the Court held that Mr. Baffert did not establish a likelihood of success on the merits. Today’s opinion is a victory for the integrity of horseracing and we will continue to take action to protect the safety of our human and equine athletes,” CDI spokesperson Tonya Abeln wrote in an emailed statement.

TDN has left phone messages seeking comment from both Baffert and his attorney, Clark Brewster.

This story will be updated.

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