Judge denies request for Bob Baffert-trained Arkansas Derby winner Muth to run in Kentucky Derby

FILE - Horse trainer Bob Baffert leaves federal court July 12, 2021, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Churchill Downs is extending Baffert's suspension through 2024. Churchill Downs Incorporated announced Monday, July 3, 2023, it was continuing Baffert's ban citing continued concerns regarding the threat to the safety and integrity of racing he poses to CDI-owned racetracks. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)(AP/John Minchillo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A judge has denied a request by the owner of Bob Baffert-trained Arkansas Derby winner Muth for the colt to run in next month’s 150th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Mitch Perry declined Thursday to grant a temporary injunction to Zedan Racing Stables, which had argued that the ban of Baffert was “illegal.”

Muth won the Arkansas Derby on March 30 but is ineligible to receive the 100 points that would have put him in the Run for the Roses because of Baffert’s suspension. ZRS sued Churchill Downs days later.

In his ruling, Perry expressed concern about “innocent third parties” having to remove eligible horses from the Derby on May 4 to accommodate the horse trained by the Hall of Famer, whose suspension by Churchill Downs was extended through 2024.

Eric Andrus, a spokesman for ZRS, said an emergency appeal would be filed “as soon as possible.”

“The goal of our effort remains to ensure our horse Muth will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in the 150th Run for the Roses on May 4th,” Andrus said.

Perry’s ruling noted that ZRS knew that Derby-eligible horses had to be transferred to a non-suspended trainer by Jan. 29 yet chose to remain with Baffert. The judge also wrote that Churchill Downs has a duty to ensure that rules and regulations put in place to ensure a level playing field are upheld.

“Public trust and confidence in the integrity of the races run at Churchill Downs are essential to its business,” Perry wrote. “It is also in the public interest to ensure that all those who attend or watch races at Churchill Downs can be confident in the fairness and integrity of the sport.”


AP horse racing: https://apnews.com/hub/horse-racing

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