Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert has more problems on his hands — which may be dirty.
Baffert was suspended indefinitely from Churchill Downs, and once again, the silver-haired success story faces questions about how he’s able to win.
Baffert has been consistent with his denials, citing reasons from test contamination to human error, but his supporters are naturally thinning in number.
In just the past two years, Baffert-trained horses have failed five drug tests, continuing a three-decades-plus pattern.
Industry observers weighed in on the latest controversy.
Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde:
“Why indeed, Bob? Why is there always a new problem for the most successful trainer in the sport?
“At this point, it’s up to Baffert to supply a compelling answer to that question, not the rest of us.”
Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal:
“Bob Baffert’s problem is he’s had too many problems.
“Too many issues requiring explanations. Too many failed drug tests in need of mitigating factors. Too many times when the Hall of Fame trainer has stretched the envelope of plausibility the way a sumo does spandex.
On Monday, Baffert made the media rounds, denying the charges and saying “cancel culture” was behind the attempt to take him out.
Here’s what he told Fox News. “It did not happen. That horse has never been treated with [betamethasone]. Actually, it’s a legal therapeutic medicine and the amount that was in it wouldn’t have any effect on the horse anyway. But we don’t … That horse was never treated with that and so that’s the disturbing part of it.”
Baffert told the Dan Patrick show that one explanation could be this. A groom who had been taking cough medication urinated in the stall on some hay that his horse was in. Derby winner Medina Spirit then ate some of the hay. “Churchill Downs came out with that statement – that was pretty harsh. With all the noise … We live in a different world now. This America is different. It was like a cancel culture kind of a thing so they’re reviewing it. I haven’t been told anything. We’re prepared to run.”