LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Bob Baffert has sued Churchill Downs and track leadership in federal court, seeking to overturn his two-year suspension on grounds it violated his due process rights.
The suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court names Churchill Downs Inc., CEO William C. Carstanjen and board chair R. Alex Rankin.
The historic track suspended Baffert last spring through 2023 and cited a recent spate of failed drug tests by his horses including now-deceased Medina Spirit, who won the Kentucky Derby.
A post-race drug test showed that Medina Spirit tested positive for the banned substance betamethasone.
Baffert's attorney claims the substance wasn't used to enhance the horse's performance.
"Churchill Downs knows the post-race test report occurred as a result of the use of a harmless ointment known as Otomax," Baffert's attorney Clark Brewster said in a statement, according to NBC News. "They know it was prescribed by Medina Spirit’s treating veterinarian and properly and timely reported to the data bank the day it was dispensed. They know no rule was violated, and the ointment could never have enhanced Medina Spirit’s performance. "
The colt was officially stripped of the title last month and Mandaloun is recognized as the winner of the race.
Churchill Downs called Baffert’s lawsuit disappointing but not surprising in a statement and said it would fight the suit.