Updated on 09/15/2011 12:26PM

Baffert denied stay of ban


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The California Horse Racing Board on Tuesday denied a request by trainer Bob Baffert, and his attorney, Neil Papiano, to stay the 60-day suspension Baffert received when one of his starters at Hollywood Park last May tested positive for trace levels of the prohibited drug morphine.

Stewards on Sunday suspended Baffert from June 25 through Aug. 23, but Papiano filed an appeal with the CHRB on Tuesday afternoon, and requested a stay pending the appeal. Robert Tourtelot, the CHRB chairman, denied the request and issued a press release explaining his decision.

The release stated that Tourtelot has never granted a stay for a medication violation, and noted that his policy is consistent with that of the the last two CHRB chairmen. "We treat everyone the same, even a leading trainer," Tourtelot said.

Papiano took exception to the speed at which the CHRB had prepared the release. "We just served them an hour ago, and they already had the release prepared. What they're trying to do is put [Baffert] out of business.

"They ought to have been able to find another way to do it than find an infinitesimal amount" of the prohibited medication," Papiano said, "then throw out the blood."

The Baffert-trained Nautical Look tested positive for morphine after winning a race last May, but the split sample of blood from Nautical Look was discarded by Truesdail Laboratories, on instruction from the CHRB.

Papiano said he will appeal the CHRB's denial in court. "It never occurred to me that this would be denied," he said. "Whatever their plan is, it's unbelievable."

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