05/29/2002 12:00AM

Baffert awarded $102k in fees

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A federal judge in California ruled on Tuesday that the California Horse Racing Board must reimburse trainer Bob Baffert $102,780 for legal fees he ran up while fighting a drug case brought by the board.

The drug case involved a May 2000 morphine positive from Nautical Look after a race at Hollywood Park. The case was later thrown out when a Los Angeles judge ruled that Baffert's due process rights were violated after a sample of the horse's blood was thrown away by regulators, preventing Baffert from getting the sample retested.

Mike Marten, a spokesman for the board, said Wednesday that the CHRB plans to ask the federal judge to stay the financial ruling until the board's appeal of the first ruling is heard. The board filed the appeal three weeks ago, Marten said.

In May 2001, the CHRB suspended Baffert for 60 days for the positive, but the trainer received a stay of that ruling. Baffert and his lawyer, Neil Papiano, have argued that the positive was a result of accidental contamination.