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John Clay: This year's Kentucky Derby promises an unpredictable prep-race campaign

Sports / Horse Racing /

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Less than four months from the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby, we are in for an interesting and confusing prep race campaign.

Bob Baffert is the reason. Of course. The 69-year-old Thoroughbred trainer is facing a two-year suspension by Churchill Downs after his seventh Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, tested ...Read more

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Bob Baffert-trained horses again lead Eclipse Awards finalists

Sports / Horse Racing /

LOS ANGELES — Once again trainer Bob Baffert had the most number of Southern California horses selected as finalists for the annual Eclipse Awards. The Baffert-trained Medina Spirit, Corniche and Gamine joined Flightline and Ce Ce as nominees to horse racing's biggest honors.

In addition, locally based jockey Flavien Prat was chosen in the ...Read more

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California Horse Racing Board equine medical director put on administrative leave

Sports / Horse Racing /

LOS ANGELES — In the latest twist to the bizarre situation surrounding the California Horse Racing Board's equine medical director, Dr. Jeff Blea has been placed on administrative leave by UC Davis pending further review of his veterinary license. Blea has not been performing the functions of EMD since Thursday after state attorneys indicated ...Read more

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California Horse Racing Board removes doctor from Medina Spirit death investigation

Sports / Horse Racing /

LOS ANGELES — The California Horse Racing Board, in an attempt to quell the firestorm surrounding its equine medical director, has removed Dr. Jeff Blea from the investigation surrounding the death of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit. It will now be headed by Dr. John Pascoe, executive associate dean of the UC Davis School of Veterinary ...Read more

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Bob Baffert-trained Newgrange wins Sham Stakes at Santa Anita

Sports / Horse Racing /

Trainer Bob Baffert’s vice-like grip on possible Kentucky Derby starters got a bit stronger on Saturday when Newgrange won the Grade 3 $100,000 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. The only problem is that Baffert is currently excluded from running at Churchill Downs, home of the Derby.

Newgrange was a classic case of the "other Baffert," where ...Read more

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California Horse Racing Board's new equine medical director accused of violations

Sports / Horse Racing /

LOS ANGELES — The California Horse Racing Board, which has bounced from crisis to crisis the past few years, now finds its newly appointed equine medical director under suspicion from another state regulatory agency.

Dr. Jeff Blea, who is in charge of the investigation into the death of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, was hit with a 27-...Read more

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Dianne Feinstein calls for 'transparent examination' into Medina Spirit's death

Sports / Horse Racing /

There is little doubt that the search for answers on why Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit suddenly died on Monday after a workout at Santa Anita has been at the forefront of racing this week. But now the heat has been turned up even more as it has gained the attention of California's senior U.S. senator, Dianne Feinstein.

"Seeing any horse ...Read more

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What is Medina Spirit's legacy following his sudden death? The answer is uncertain

Sports / Horse Racing /

Few horses have had such a short yet newsworthy career as Medina Spirit. And, a day after his sudden death after a workout at Santa Anita, many are wondering how his story will eventually be told.

Will he be the underdog horse that brought trainer Bob Baffert his record-setting seventh Kentucky Derby win? Or will he be the second horse ever ...Read more

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Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit dies after Santa Anita workout

Sports / Horse Racing /

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit collapsed and died after a workout Monday at Santa Anita in California.

The 3-year-old colt trained by Bob Baffert had just completed 5 furlongs in his second workout since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic a month ago at Del Mar, according to Craig Robertson, Baffert’s ...Read more

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Bob Baffert attorney: Test proves Medina Spirit wasn't injected with banned drug

Sports / Horse Racing /

Trainer Bob Baffert, the subject of a half-year of speculation over the legitimacy of Medina Spirit's win in the Kentucky Derby, made a case for innocence on Friday saying there is clear proof the horse was not injected with betamethasone but instead the medication was administered through an ointment.

Clark Brewster, an attorney for Zedan ...Read more

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Eight horses die at Laurel Park after suffering fractures on track since October; weekend racing canceled

Sports / Horse Racing /

BALTIMORE — Track officials at Laurel Park suspended thoroughbred workouts and called off three planned racing cards for this weekend after eight horses suffered fatal fractures in October and November while racing or training over the recently installed dirt surface at the facility.

“While racing is suspended, the Maryland Thoroughbred ...Read more

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Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez to ride fulltime at Santa Anita this winter

Sports / Horse Racing /

LOS ANGELES — Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will be riding full time at Santa Anita this winter, the first time the native of Puerto Rico has done so. Velazquez, 50, still is considered one of best riders in the game, having won four Kentucky Derbies and 18 Breeders' Cup races.

Velazquez will stay at Santa Anita through the Santa Anita ...Read more

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Racing commissioners challenge Arlington Park's request to run off-track betting parlors after it closed its track

Sports / Horse Racing /

CHICAGO — Illinois racing officials are challenging a request to allow off-track betting by Arlington International Racecourse, even though it is not licensed for racing next year, as the statute appears to require.

Hawthorne Race Course officials proposed that they could instead take over the parlors, which allow gamblers to bet remotely on ...Read more

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Horse trainer Peter Miller goes on hiatus after rash of thoroughbred deaths

Sports / Horse Racing /

LOS ANGELES — Trainer Peter Miller, who has won the Del Mar training title nine times, announced on Thursday that he is stepping back from racing "to spend more time with his family, focus on overall health and wellness, and pursue other interests."

The move comes as Miller has been at the center of the conversation on horse safety after six ...Read more

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NASCAR at Phoenix race results: Kyle Larson caps dominant season with Cup championship

Sports / Horse Racing /

Kyle Larson is NASCAR’s 2021 Cup Series champion. He won Sunday’s race at Phoenix Raceway to clinch the title and record a 10-win season.

Larson led 108 laps of the 312 lap race at the track in Avondale, Arizona. The finale pitted two powerhouse organizations against each other with two teams each from Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick ...Read more

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Victor Espinoza rides Ce Ce to upset in Breeders Cup' Filly and Mare Sprint

Sports / Horse Racing /

DEL MAR, Calif — Hall of fame jockey Victor Espinoza, 49, hasn't been on top of the Breeders' Cup stage in a while, not since he won the Classic with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015. He's struggled of late, his number of mounts dropping from almost 500 a year to just over 100.

But the only mistake he made Saturday winning the $1 ...Read more

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Knicks Go defies age and beats the favorites to win Breeders' Cup Classic

Sports / Horse Racing /

DEL MAR, Calif. — If you take anything away from Saturday's running of the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic, it's that horses can get better with age.

With a lot of attention being paid to a trio of 3-year-olds, it was 5-year-old Knicks Go who shot out of the gate and went wire-to-wire to win the richest race in the United States. The three 3...Read more

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Bryce Miller: Horse-racing icon Bob Baffert riding out 'storm' at Breeders' Cup

Sports / Horse Racing /

DE MAR, Calif. — As a fresh sun painted backstretch barns Friday morning at Del Mar racetrack, trainer Bob Baffert sat in a plastic chair inside a small office, surrounded by buckets and bridles.

For nearly 40 minutes, Baffert considered questions about how his life briefly moonlighted as a national punchline when 12-1 surprise Medina Spirit ...Read more

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Corniche rolls to Breeders' Cup Juvenile win for under-fire trainer Bob Baffert

Sports / Horse Racing /

DEL MAR, Calif. — Trainer Bob Baffert is in an interesting predicament, and it’s one with which he’s OK. He now has the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, a race in which he is banned.

This latest twist came when his 2-year-old colt Corniche was dominant in winning the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Friday on the first day of the ...Read more

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Why the Breeders Cup' Classic winner almost always retires to pasture

Sports / Horse Racing /

DEL MAR, Calif. — Horse racing is a sport desperately in need of stars. So, when there is a winner of Saturday’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the richest race in the United States, you would think the marketing campaign would start immediately.

Not necessarily.

Five of the last six winners of the Classic were essentially retired ...Read more