- Bob Baffert has been suspended from entering horses at Belmont Park as well as other New York racetracks.
- Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, a steroid, after winning the Kentucky Derby.
- The New York Racing Association may remove the suspension pending the results of the ongoing investigation into Medina Spirit.
LAS VEGAS – Bob Baffert has been suspended from entering any horses at racetracks in the state of New York. With the Belmont Stakes taking place on June 5, this puts a handful of horse’s eligibility in doubt for some of the biggest races of the year.
The suspension comes after Medina Spirit tested positive for a steroid after winning the Kentucky Derby.
This was the fifth time in the last 13 months that one of Baffert’s horses failed a post-race drug test. Once the investigation into Medina Spirit is concluded, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) will decide whether to allow Baffert’s horses into their racetracks.
How This Impacts The Belmont Stakes
If the investigation finds there was in fact foul play at the Kentucky Derby, horse racing bettors likely won’t be able to bet on any Baffert horses at the Belmont Stakes.
At the time of the suspension, Baffert had not committed any of his horses into the Belmont Stakes’ main event but had the possibility of entering horses like Medina Spirit and Concert Tour. However, Baffert was scheduled to have many horses run in other races throughout the day.
There are still ways that Baffert’s horses could race in the Belmont Stakes. The easiest path would be for Medina Spirit’s blood sample to come back clean, but even if the suspension remains intact there’s a chance his horses can run.
Theoretically, Baffert could renounce himself as the horses’ trainer and they could run under his assistant’s name, Jimmy Barnes. Barnes is the man who oversaw Medina Spirit and Concert Tour at the Preakness Stakes when Baffert skipped the event.
If Baffert does take this route, it will be up to NYRA and the racetracks as to whether they change the ban from current Baffert-trained horses to any horse previously trained by Baffert.
What The Belmont Field Looks Like Right Now
The field for the last leg of the Triple Crown won’t be finalized for at least a week or two, but for now, betting odds don’t list any Baffert horses. If his horses were to run, they haven’t fared incredibly well in the past.
Baffert has won three Belmont Stakes, far fewer than his seven Kentucky Derby and seven Preakness Stakes winners. His horses to win the Belmont are Justify (who also has a history of illegal substances), American Pharoah, and Point Given.
While the field is unconfirmed, it’s expected to have Preakness winner Rombauer as well as potentially both Brad Cox horses from the Kentucky Derby in Essential Quality and Mandaloun.
Belmont Stakes 2021 Betting Odds
- Essential Quality +300
- Rombauer +400
- Hot Rod Charlie +450
- Midnight Bourbon +500
- Rock Your World +500
- Known Agenda +1000
- Rebel’s Romance +1200
- Keepmeinmind +1600
- Promise Keeper +1600
- Weyburn +1600
- Brooklyn Strong +2000
- France Go De Ina +2500
The field is likely to fluctuate mightily over the next week or two, but these are the odds listed on Bovada as of Tuesday. The Belmont Stakes isn’t set to take place until June 5, which leaves a lot of times for things to change surrounding the races.
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News tags: American Pharoah | Belmont Stakes | Bob Baffert | Concert Tour | Essential Quality | Jimmy Barnes | Justify | Kentucky Derby | Mandaloun | Medina Spirit | NYRA | Point Given | Preakness Stakes | Rombauer
Nick is a sports writer and die-hard sports fan. He graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Broadcast/Journalism. In his free time, he enjoys kicking back and relaxing with a good video game.