Baffert angry, defiant in recorded calls after banned drug found in Medina Spirit’s system
‘Somebody’s out to destroy me and this is not right,’ Baffert said in calls recorded by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission
Note: The audio recordings are at the bottom of this article.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A series of phone conversations recorded by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) reveal an angry, defiant, resentful, and suspicious Bob Baffert complaining to state officials that someone is out to “destroy” him – two days after learning that his 2021 Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for the prohibited race day drug betamethasone.
“There’s something going on in Kentucky that’s not right,” Baffert said in one recorded call. “And now you’re going…to drag me through the mud. There is something drastically wrong with what’s going on, because this sounds like…just a setup deal to me.”
The KHRC recorded three phone calls with Baffert on May 8, 2021, during which he denies responsibility for Medina Spirit’s test results and attempts to blame someone else.
”I didn’t do anything wrong on my part, but I’m going to have to take that,” Baffert said. “And… I’ve about had it, about had it with Kentucky. I mean, this is - this is ridiculous, you know? This is not right. And somebody f----- me … in the test barn, or … there’s something going on. Somebody did something. They got the wrong horse or whatever, but betamethasone? Give me a break, you know? Come on.”
Baffert claimed more than 20 times in a 13-and-a-half-minute conversation that state race regulators were wrong about the testing. Numerous times he suggested he was being targeted.
“This is going to be it for me,” he said in the recordings. “I’m just going to fight it until … the end and it’s criminal, whatever is going on. I don’t know if it was in the lab. Somebody’s out to destroy me and this is not right.”
At certain points, Baffert had some choice words for three KHRC racing stewards on the other end of the line, and his attorney later said the Hall of Fame trainer was unaware the phone calls were being recorded and that they were recorded illegally.
WAVE News obtained the recordings after submitting a records request to the KHRC. The recordings are of three phone conversations between Baffert and state racing stewards Barbara Borden, Brooks “Butch” Becraft, and Tyler Picklesimer.
The KHRC declined to comment on the details of the recordings.
According to Clark O. Brewster, an attorney for the Baffert family, “These secret recordings reveal a fundamental contradiction in the false narrative that KHRC and Churchill Downs have pushed about Bob. They show a man who cares deeply about the integrity of racing and who from the beginning called for a full and fair investigation into Medina Spirit’s positive test.” Brewster also said, “Powerful forces have aligned against Bob, but we believe the facts, the truth and transparency will win every time against a false narrative, secrecy and obfuscation.”
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Baffert can be heard saying in the recordings. “Here I was going over there to enjoy it, and all this excitement, and this s--- happens? Come on. In Kentucky, I mean, it’s a cesspool. I mean, I’m really down on freaking Kentucky right now. Something went wrong.”
Baffert said the betamethasone in Medina Spirit’s blood came from a topical lotion containing the medication two days after the recorded conversations. He said that it was used to treat a rash on the horse’s skin. According to his attorneys, using the medicine topically does not violate KHRC regulations, but injecting betamethasone does.
According to the executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, betamethasone administered through injection is not permitted on race day since the anti-inflammatory might possibly disguise an injury before a race (RMTC).
Listen to the phone recordings in the video below.
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