A 3-year-old stallion owned by the wife of struggling trainer Bob Baffert ran another Hall of Fame trainer on Saturday as she finished fourth at the $ 1 million Belmont Derby Invitational in Belmont Park, New York. where Baffert has been suspended and is suing to regain access.
Du Jour ran in the name of Hall of Fame coach Bill Mott for the 1-mile race. The foal is owned by Jill Baffert and Debbie Lanni, a friend of Bafferts. Fourth place was worth $ 65,000.
Baffert was the record coach for Du Jour’s last start, a win in the $ 500,000 US Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 1st. It was the same day that Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby, giving Baffert his record seventh victory of the race. One week later, Baffert announced that Medina Spirit had tested positive for corticosteroid betamethasone, which is not allowed at any level on race day. Split test later confirmed the original result.
On May 17, the New York Racing Association temporarily suspended the California coach from participating in races or having stalls in Belmont Park, Saratoga and Aqueduct.
“During the temporary suspension, the NYRA will not accept items or accommodate anyone employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables,” the NYRA said at the time.
Last month, Baffert sued the NYRA in New York court for improperly suspending him allegedly without legal authority and without notice or opportunity to be heard before action was taken. Baffert is seeking an injunction prohibiting the NYRA from denying him and his horses access to the three lanes and blocking him from participating in races on any of them.
When it suspended Baffert, the NYRA said a final decision regarding the length and terms of the suspension would be based on information found during an ongoing investigation in Kentucky. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission must conduct a trustee hearing before taking any official action.