More Drug Problems for Bob Baffert – But Rest Assured, He’s Innocent

Bob Baffert, again. The superstar trainer with 15 Triple-Crown-races wins is back in the hot seat for drug positives. Last fall, you may recall, The New York Times reported that Justify, Baffert’s 2018 “champion,” failed a drug test in a qualifying race in California before going on to win the Kentucky Derby that year. As the Times said, “That meant Justify should not have run in the Derby, if the sport’s rules were followed.” But California officials dragged their feet for months, allowing Baffert time to win his second TC in four years. Eventually, the CHRB cleared Baffert. Its reasoning (and Baffert’s defense): “environmental contamination” (jimson weed in feed/straw).

(On that determination, the Times’ Joe Drape wrote: “Baffert has denied any wrongdoing, but the quantity of the drug found in Justify suggested that it was present not because of contamination in his feed or his bedding but rather because of an effort to enhance performance, according to Dr. Rick Sams, who ran the drug lab for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission from 2011 to 2018.”)

Now, word comes that two more of Baffert’s horses – once again, elite ones – tested positive for overages of lidocaine at Oaklawn in May. Baffert’s defense, again: “environmental contamination.” His lawyer, Craig Robertson III, explains (BloodHorse):

“Even though lidocaine is a lawful, widely available therapeutic medication, it was never intentionally administered to either Gamine or Charlatan. When test results indicated that trace [questionable word choice] amounts of lidocaine were found in both horses after their respective races on May 2, Bob Baffert and his team were shocked. … After investigation, it is our belief that both Gamine and Charlatan were unknowingly and innocently exposed to lidocaine by one of Bob’s employees.

“The employee previously broke his pelvis and had been suffering from back pain over the two days leading up to May 2. As a result, he wore a Salonpas patch on his back that he personally applied. That brand of patch contains small amounts of lidocaine. It is believed that lidocaine from that patch was innocently transferred from the employee’s hands to the horses through the application of tongue ties….” (“Tongue ties,” by the way, are abusive in and of themselves.)

Pity this hapless Hall of Famer, he just can’t catch a break.

48 Comments

  1. Partick. You must have been a journalism or creative writing professor. Your sentence construction and word placement and usage are second to none. I read these submissions every morning and I marvel at the way you can bring your ideas to life. If I could write one long paragraph with your skill I could get out of taking Composition 101 and 102 (again).

  2. Poor Bob just keeps getting picked on, even as he’s “winning” and doing everything “right.” The whispers about his alleged cheating have turned into full-blown screams. And it’s not just the new lidocaine positives and the scopolamine overage mentioned in this piece; Baffert-trained Nadal recently suffered a career-ending leg fracture, the same week that (also Baffert-trained) Arrogate was euthanized for a mysterious neurological disease at the ripe old age of seven.
    But of course, all of these so-called outliers can be attributed to bad racing luck, so he’s probably just as squeaky-clean as Servis and Navarro;)

    • There’s ALWAYS an excuse with this guy…in the hay,worker had something on hand…it never ends,(the excuses).

      • Right, Bonnie. Abuse the horses literally to death and, should the “need” for an excuse arise, throw the groom under the bus! These filthy scum Hall of Shamers could not possibly be honest enough to take responsibility for their own cheating, doping, and horse-killing!

  3. Bob baffert is the leading poster boy for what is currently wrong in horse racing. not only has he killed more than his share of horses he is killing the horse racing industry but as long as he keeps plenty of money in his pocket he will carry on doing so.

    • What is currently wrong in horse racing is…horse racing.
      They could conceivably try to rid themselves of all the Bafferts (and the Navarros, and the Hollendorfers, and the Dutrows, and…), but guess what? They’d STILL be left with a horse-killing blood sport that the public no longer supports — and has wholly turned against — AND an overwhelming racehorse-disposal problem that can be neither hidden nor rectified.
      Face it, Gail: Time’s up for your Sport of Kings.

      • The California Horse Racing Board could be in the poster for what is wrong with horseracing in the past, the present and the future. Everything that is anything in horseracing is what is wrong with horseracing. You have to be greedy, filthy scum to think the doping and horrendous lack of regard for the well-being of horses is okay because it is inhumane and definitely NOT okay. That brings up another group of people that could be in the poster for what is wrong with horseracing: the Humane Society of the United States. They take millions of dollars from people with the fake promise that they stand for humane treatment of animals and are right there in bed with the horse-doping and killing psychopaths in horseracing.

    • My grandpa trained horses forever. He was weird though. He put them where they could win and turned them out to get fresh air and sunshine and to keep them fresh. I agree Bob is the scum of the track. For those who remember the baseball players who were hitting home runs at a record pace that was all natural also……..oh, wait???

  4. If I said here what I am thinking about Bob Baffert, the Barbaric Buffoon, my comment would be deleted. I guess most of you get my drift.
    He is disgusting and his lawyers are disgusting. All of horseracing is disgusting and deplorable!!!!!!!!
    There is nothing redeeming about horseracing and all of the demented, depraved thinking and behavior associated with horseracing and horse-doping and horse-killing!!!!!
    If only these depraved horse-killers could be whipped repeatedly as in the way they whip the horses!!!! Shocking Bob Baffert with electricity would be something “innocent” as well!!!!!

    • How many weeks or months did it take for these horse-killing deviants to come up with this phony bunch of crapola to excuse this slime-ball of doping the horses he “trains”? It is a rhetorical question. They sat on it for several months with JUSTIFY.

      • Wanda. His horse Gamene on June 20 won by a huge margin in the Acorn Stakes race. A record breaking clock time also.

      • Thank you, Nancy. I don’t expect the groom will get recognition for the horse’s “winning” performance but definitely be used by Baffert as a scapegoat to get him out of being disqualified from racing said horse.

  5. Johnnie Cochran could not have crafted a more ridiculous defense. But watch it work.

  6. Poor guy, this contamination just seeks him out – most unfortunate!!
    His excuses are insulting to say the least. Only in this crooked business can such a crook get away with this. And not only does he get away with it, his animal abuse and cheating earn him high honors and adulation!
    This says ALL one needs to know about
    this business and the corrupt people in it.

  7. Baffert is a doper, cheater and killer.
    That said, it’s not just Baffert that should be the focus here.
    The owners.
    The most richest people in the U.S. send their million dollar racehorses to Baffert and they know damn well what he’s all about.
    Out of all the trainers out there they intentionally and willingly make the decision to send their horse to a multiple doping violator that has lots of racehorses snap their legs-off and crumble to the dirt under the care, custody and control of Bob Baffert.
    This would be equivalent to sending your child to the same daycare that killed your other children without an explanation.
    Furthermore, these owners go AWOL and completely silent when their racehorses are killed.
    You know why?
    Bob Baffert and all of the top trainers have iron-clad owner/trainer contracts that are signed before a racehorse is sent to their barn.
    I’ve seen these contracts and they more or less give Baffert a license to kill with no repercussions and the owner isn’t even allowed to talk about it.
    That’s why they go silent.
    These owners know damn well that their racehorse is probably going to be doped up to the hilt with everything, but the kitchen sink to win their big races to qualify for the goal: The Kentucky Derby.
    They don’t care about that because they only care about winning, making money, and their egos.
    You can’t possibly care about your horse if you intentionally send them into Baffert’s stable knowing that you are subjecting them to a laboratory experiement that often goes horribly wrong or it can go horribly right and they gamble on their racehorse’s life.
    Yes indeed there’s much more gambling going on than just $2 bets and the racehorses pay the price.

    • You are absolutely correct—I will no longer keep contributing to this BS until a neutral, independent board is created to monitor and regulate the industry—Horse racing needs Horsemen and women instead of trainers that are nothing more than chemists–probably with an “independent contractor” administering the drugs with no accountablility–

  8. Wow Gina thank you for all of that information I did not know that you seem to know a lot about it. Do you know any possible way to stop it. I think I’ve emailed the governor and senator in people but it’s got to be somebody else. Thank you

  9. Horse racing will never be shut down. You’re not going to tell me that every thoroughbred owner and trainer is a scumbag with dollar signs in his eyes. And of course we come to this question: If all racing were banned, what would you do with all the thoroughbreds. And what about the thousands of jobs that would be lost? And while we’re at it, why don’t we ban football, boxing, hockey…?

    • While your entire comment is vacuous, I will address the “will never be shut down” and “what to do with all the thoroughbreds” parts. Horseracing will not suddenly come to a close overnight. It will contract – or to be more precise, continue to contract: I have documented a net loss of 34 racetracks in the U.S. just since 2000. The Jockey Club’s annual “foal crop” – the number of baby Thoroughbreds being registered each year – is roughly half what it was in 1990. All other relevant metrics are also down – racedays, races, “field sizes,” etc. See, contraction. Now, as to your question of where those horses who are left will go, I turn it back on you – where, pray tell, do they go now? The vast majority – 10,000-15,000 or more annually – of “retired” racehorses are brutally and violently slaughtered at the end of their productivity. Yes, that’s right, this multi-billion dollar industry, littered with loads of obscenely wealthy people, is sending most of its erstwhile “family members” to the abattoirs to be shackled, slashed, bled-out, and butchered. So you see, your question is grossly misdirected.

    • So you’re telling us, John F Piper, that the “scumbags” and “non-scumbags” would still race horses if there were no checks waiting across the finish line?

      And where would all the horses go if racing ceased to exist? – hey, I was just told again yesterday that “these [race]horses are treated better than my own kids”. Those who benefit from racing claim it all the time…the horses are “like family” – they “get the best of everything”. So what are you worried about? – won’t these “non-scumbags” provide their “children” with forever, loving homes?

  10. I was over on bute many years ago at Beulah park far far away from California an the stewards were going to ban me for life over bute I realize horses do have aches an pains .My question is Baffert has been caught 28 times an still have a job an everyone else is the bad guy wake up America earl pitts

  11. Baffert and other high-profile trainers are the linchpin to the sport. As trainers they are responsible for seeing that the millions of dollars invested at the sales comes to fruition. Considering that a small percentage of horses break their maidens, when one promising colt of filly does emerge, trainers take every advantage to create an ROI.Thus, any alleged improprieties such as doping, falls directly on them, but because they are the linchpin to the sport’s billion dollar economic impact, every organization within the sport invested with oversight has a self-preserving motive to cover it up. But once the coverup is exposed the damage will be devastating as most of the institutions set up to protect the integrity of the sport will be exposed as corrupt. In 10 years, Bob Baffert will be the Lance Armstrong of horse racing.

  12. BREAKING NEWS OUT OF KENTUCKY: evidently, Bob Baffert’s Derby winner Medina Spirit has tested positive for LIdocaine. This is precisely why they haven’t announced that all tests were cleared which they usually do within 24 hours of the Derby to reassure the public that all is well in horse racing.
    He’s now arrived, on a private jet supposedly, with his high powered, highly paid attorney Craig Robertson will, yet again, convince those in power that everything is okay because one of the grooms is to blame.
    Now we are hearing that GAMINE has also tested positive, but not sure if it’s both horses or just one.
    The cover-up has begun and horse racing is scrambling to cover-up and protect multiple doping violator, cheater, lying racehorse abuser and killer Bob Baffert AKA Teflon Bob.
    Brad Cox, who had the favorite for the Derby was furious when Teflon Bob got his suspension reversed in Arkansas so he could run in the Derby and was equally furious when he won the Derby.
    Now I know our sympathies on this site are for the racehorses, I get that, but who in the hell would want to invest in this business when they know it’s crooked and corrupt?

    • The cover-up has been an ongoing issue. In the Arkansas debacle, one of the excuses was to blame Baffert’s assistant trainer for wearing a LIDOCAINE PATCH for his “own” pain… Another excuse was to say that it was such a small and questionable amount of LIDOCAINE that it was “probably” an error of some type at the testing laboratory. Of course, we won’t mention the money that could have changed hands under the table for letting this “little mishap” slide right on out of here. After all, you know a guy with a smug grin on his face can’t be lying when he says that he’s proud of his operation.

      • Corrected – see post.
        I got it before the journalists.
        That’s why I said “evidently” we knew it was something.
        Nevertheless, it’s all the same repercussions and it is a pain killer like lidocaine.

        • Corticosteroid, anti-inflammatory similar to dex. No excuse like “the groom was wearing a patch”. Baffert was quoted as saying “racing has a problem but it’s not Bob Baffert”. Lolol. He’s all marketing.

          • Baffert is sadistic and narcissistic. I can’t help but think they are trying to use Medina Spirit as a rags to riches fairy tale to seduce the fans of horse racing (and anyone else that still has not gotten the picture that Horseracing is Animal Cruelty) to keep “his dream” alive.

  13. Betamethasone is given for the control of pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. It is administered as an intra-articular injection.
    A 3 yr. old in need of high-powered corticosteroid joint injection?!!! Poor horse.

    • It has no analgesic effect but can relieve discomfort caused by inflammation.

    • A corticosteroid is not an analgesic per se, nobody said it was. However, it does relieve pain because it controls the painful inflammation.
      Ask anybody who has received the treatment for an arthritic joint!

  14. All over the news (and PR) BAFFERT suspended from entering horses st Churchill Downs due to the breaking news this morning.

  15. They are entitled to and have requested a “split sample” testing that has yet to be announced.
    If the split sample confirms that it’s positive for Betamethasone than the suspension in KY will be upheld.
    Enter CHRB where Baffert has his home base.
    It’s required, under recent changes, that another state honors a suspension in another state.
    So the CHRB would have to honor the suspension, but wait – this is the deeply corrupt CHRB and how horrible for Santa Anita not to have their star “Trainer” on hand despite the fact they are supposed to be serious about cleaning up, but I suppose time will tell.
    If the split sample results are positive before next Saturday then it will be up to The Stronach Group to deny entry and racing to Baffert’s racehorses, but wait – TSG is a corrupt organization for many reasons not one of which is the fact that they go out of their way to facilitate multiple doping cheaters who kills racehorses.
    They did under Frank Stronach, but let’s see what Belinda Stronach does – like father like daughter?
    It’s very plausible, only due to the fact that this is Sir Baffert, that they will delay the release of the results until after Saturday because millions in gambling pools are involved not because they care about a doped up racehorse who can potentially breakdown when his inflammation is suppressed.
    The millions in gambling pools all involved at least 1 of Baffert’s horses and because this business is all about the money they may go out of their way to accommodate.
    I suppose we will see, but Baffert and his attorney have already indicated that they will appeal.
    What a dirty rotten corrupt business that cares nothing about the safety of the racehorses or people.

    • The fact remains that it is legal to dope racehorses, regardless of any trainer doping more than the legal limit. The fact remains that horses are forced to suffer physical injuries and psychological damage. I don’t have a list of all the legal drugs and legal limits on each drug in this HorseracingisAnimalCruelty industry. In this particular incident with Baffert doping Medina Spirit, the article online said he was double the legal limit. It is serious but it isn’t as serious as doping the horse with an illegal drug such as methamphetamine, for example. Well, it is interesting to see if Bob’s Teflon will get a scratch in it enough that this doping double the legal dose of a legal drug will stick as a violation that Baffert is responsible for.

      • My local paper this morning mentioning this development used the word excessive and there may be a DQ and Mandolun would be declared winner

        • According to what I read, all the gamblers who bet money on the second place horse will not be able to get any payouts if Baffert’s horse is disqualified. The betting window is closed on the Kentucky Derby at this point. I think the bettors will be bent out of shape about that. I just wish it would all stop. Period. One day…
          #HorseracingisAnimalCruelty
          #endhorseracingNOW

  16. I don’t know how people are proficient with horse racing, but I just want to ask why only Baffert’s horse failed the test, not other people’s as well if it was environmental contamination. How did American pharoah win? Review the race, Baffert had more than one horse in the race, the other being Dortmund, It was raining and Dortmund was next to American pharoah. WHen the gates opened, Dortmund let American pharoah go, not trying to lead…. you know what I mean.

      • On the evening CBS News Baffert made one of the most lame excuses by saying that the horse, Medina Spirit, could have “licked the wall” so next time you’re needing a prescription pain-killer for chronic pain and inflammation, save yourself all of that extra trouble to get a prescription filled, not to mention the money you would save, and just “lick the wall.” What a fool…

        • Wanda, yes, in David Begnaud’s piece “Bob Baffert Claims Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Is A Victim Of ‘Cancel Culture’”, this;

          “Baffert claimed…the horse itself could have been easily contaminated. ‘They can lick a wall’, [Baffert stated]”.

          Lick a wall. Wowza.

          • Yeah, right. Everybody knows the pharmaceutical companies love to spend millions of dollars saturating walls with corticosteroids and randomly at that, of course. What an idiot he is!
            Horses don’t lick walls. Horses will lick a salt block or a mineral block if a salt or mineral block is available. If a horse needs salt and there is no salt block available, the horse will lick the skin of a human being. The horse is not being affectionate if he or she licks you or anyone. In order for a horse to lick someone’s skin, the horse is in desperate need of salt to lick a person. Baffert is in desperate need of an excuse. He said he did not do it (give Medina Spirit a drug) and the veterinarian did not do it. So the first most logical conclusion is that Baffert ordered his private vet to administer the drug to Medina Spirit. I hope that the violation stands and Baffert doesn’t get away with this blatant cheating and moronic, narcissistic lying!
            #HorseracingisAnimalCruelty

  17. The world just hates cheats. Should be banned from anything to do with horse racing for the rest of his life

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