April 1, 2023
Judge Decides to Mediate Bookmakers' Case Against Baffert

Greater than a 12 months after a New Jersey federal courtroom was absolutely knowledgeable of the movement to dismiss a lawsuit filed by hapless bookies in opposition to coach Bob Baffert, the case was taken to mediation by the decide.

“[I]It seems that mediation of this civil motion will preserve assets and be in one of the best pursuits of the Court docket and the events, Decide Julien Xavier Neals stated in a March 13 order. The request for refusal has been terminated administratively till mediation is made.”

The lawsuit was filed in July 2021, about two months after the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) post-race exams have been proven. Spirit of Medina The primary to cross the end line examined optimistic for betamethasone. After the lawsuit was filed, the judges disqualified Medina Spirit. An attraction in opposition to the commissioners’ choice is pending earlier than the Kentucky Horseracing Fee.

BloodHorse reached out to attorneys on either side of the dispute by way of e mail. Baffert’s chief lawyer, W. Craig Robertson III, acknowledged that they might abide by all courtroom orders, however resorting to a mediator wouldn’t yield any outcomes.

“This case is pointless,” Robertson wrote. “The appliance was meaningless on the day it was filed, and it nonetheless is right this moment. No provide of conciliation has been made and won’t be. The case must be dismissed by the Court docket, if not of its personal accord.”


The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Gary S. Graifman, didn’t reply to BloodHorse’s investigation.

30 plaintiffs, together with 2012 Nationwide Handicap Championship winner Michael Beychok, who referred to as Baffert “the Lance Armstrong of the horse racing world”, allege they might have gained vital stakes within the Derby had Baffert not entered Medina Spirit. Their case relies on Medina Spirit’s testing optimistic and Baffert’s polydrug violations resulting in the Derby, allegations of Baffert’s repeated violations of federal and state racketeering legal guidelines, in addition to frequent regulation and equity fraud claims.

Robertson’s movement to reject Kentucky regulation, which acknowledged that disqualifications didn’t have an effect on playing returns after official announcement by officers, that no different methodology of gathering misplaced horse racing bets was allowed in Kentucky, and that plaintiffs’ claims have been primarily based on a hypothetical race, didn’t embrace the frontrunner Medina Spirit.

Baffert’s refusal request was filed on November 15, 2021. Plaintiffs responded the subsequent month, and Baffert’s response got here the subsequent January 12.

One other lawsuit primarily based on the drug positivity of Medina Spirit was filed in federal courtroom in Louisville, Ky. in March 2022 by bookies Anthony Mattera and 17 others by Baffert and Churchill Downs. Churchill Downs and Baffert filed a movement to dismiss the case a 12 months in the past. Plaintiffs sought permission from the courtroom to amend their complaints six weeks later, to which the defendants objected. The final motion concerning the request for a change within the case got here in August 2022.

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