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In an email obtained by Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde, Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen detailed to employees how the company will approach possible legal action from horse trainer Bob Baffert after he was suspended from entering the Kentucky Derby. 

“His case is without merit, and you should be assured that we are considering any and all legal options available to protect our rights, set the record straight and ensure he is held accountable for the damage he has caused our company and brought to the sport at large,” Carstanjen wrote.

Baffert was suspended by Churchill Downs and banned from entering horses in the 2022 and 2023 Kentucky Derbies because the horse Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, a legal medication that is not allowed on race day, after winning the Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2021. He also was banned by the New York Racing Association from entering horses at its Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct tracks.

Baffert’s attorney, Craig Robertson, released a statement that tests done by a New York lab have “definitely confirmed” Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid due to an ointment administered to treat a skin rash, not an injection, according to The Associated Press. They are arguing that because there was no injection, there should be no suspension.

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The hall of fame horse trainer’s attorneys have drafted a complaint in pursuit of a settlement that would allow Baffert to compete in the 2022 Kentucky Derby on May 7, per The Courier-Journal. No lawsuit has been officially filed, but Carstanjen clearly wants the support of his employees.

“In the coming days, it is possible that you may continue to hear this play out publicly and, if history is an indicator, details could be dramatized, confused or completely muddled,” he wrote. “That is why I think it is important that you hear directly from me about our responsibility, our rights and our plan of action, so that you can have confidence in knowing that CDI is unwavering in our commitment to doing the right thing.“

More Horse Racing Coverage:

Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit Owners Sue Kentucky Racing Officials
Bob Baffert's Weekend at Pimlico Didn't Offer Vindication, Only More Questions
• Churchill Downs Has Pronounced That America's Biggest Race Is Bigger Than Its Biggest Trainer