Days after a group of four horseplayers filed suit against trainer Bob Baffert and Medina Spirit owner Zedan Racing over the expected disqualification of the horse from his Kentucky Derby win, Baffert has been named in two more similar federal lawsuits.
Both follow a similar premise to the May 13 civil suit filed by horseplayers Michael Beychok, Justin Wunderler, Michael Meegan and Keith Mauer. One was filed May 24 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by bettor Jeffrey Kaufman, who accuses Baffert and Zedan Racing of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act due to the presence of a regulated substance, betamethasone, Baffert said he was informed was detected on the horse’s post-race tests. The drug has yet to be confirmed in split-sample tests. Kaufman’s suit alleges that Baffert’s history of drug positives establishes a pattern and that his assurances to the public in late 2020 that he intended to improve barn procedures was trusted by bettors.
Kaufman’s suit is also designed to be a class action on behalf of other bettors on the Kentucky Derby “who would have won their bets and winnings had Medina spirit been properly prohibiting from competing in the Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2021, or competed without the aid of an illegal drug.”
Kaufman requests, among other things, court-imposed restrictions on Baffert’s “future activities in Thoroughbred racing.”
The Kaufman suit accuses Baffert and Zedan of violating the RICO Act, common law fraud, and equitable fraud, and Baffert alone of conspiring to violate California laws against racketeering. Baffert and Zedan have not yet filed responses.
Read that complaint here.
Another horseplayer, Florida-based Anthony Mattera, filed suit against Baffert and Churchill Downs in Jefferson Circuit Court in Kentucky based on the Medina Spirit drug positive, but that case was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Mattera claims, based on Baffert’s history of drug violations, Churchill Downs should have refused his entry of Medina Spirit into the race and also that the track could have implemented its own pre-race testing procedures. (The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission already conducts pre-race testing for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.) Mattera also claimed the track should not have calculated the payouts based on the results with Medina Spirit as the winner.
Mattera also seeks to have his lawsuit recognized as a class action. Mattera’s suit alleges negligence on the part of Baffert and Churchill, and violation of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act and unjust enrichment by Churchill. Mattera seeks to permanently enjoin Churchill from conducting racing until it meets a number of conditions to screen horses pre-race, settle wagers that change as the result of disqualifications, and publicly disclose medical records among other things. Baffert and Churchill have not yet filed responses.
Read that complaint here.
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