Bobby Zen

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Owner Amr Zedan filed suit Wednesday in Louisville seeking a temporary injunction that would allow his horses and all others trained by Bob Baffert to run in the GI Kentucky Derby and all other Derby-week races. Baffert is not a party to the lawsuit.

Zedan owns the GI Arkansas Derby winner Muth (Good Magic), who would be among the Derby favorites if allowed to race.

After Medina Spirit (Protonico) tested positive for betamethasone in the 2021 Derby Baffert was banned by the track for two years. Late last year they extended the ban through all of 2024. In past years, Baffert has sent his horses to other trainers, which allowed them to run at Churchill. This year, in a show of solidarity from his owners, including Zedan, Baffert has not lost a single horse to another trainer.

Baffert and Zedan have fought the suspensions through many layers of the court system and they have yet to win a round. Their cases have revolved around the betamethasone positive and have argued that because it was found in an ointment and not in an injection no penalty was warranted. According to the Times report, Zedan is trying a new tactic. He is contending that he bought horses at sales in 2022 based on the fact they could run in the 2024 Derby and he had no reason to believe at the time that the Baffert ban would be extended. Zedan spent about $10.7 million to purchase six horses including Muth and the highly-regarded Maymun (Frosted) with the primary goal of winning the 2024 Derby.

Zedan’s attorney will argue that the extension of the ban is not grounded in any contractual or common laws, that it defied the authority of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority and threatens the value of this year’s Kentucky Derby.

Zedan lawyer John Quinn casts Churchilll Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen as the person most responsible for keeping Baffert out of the Derby. The suit accused Carstanjen of ” pursuing a crazed vendetta at the expense of letting fair, healthy competition run its course.” It continues: “among the losers are CDI itself and its own shareholders, who should be welcoming, not banning, the best and fastest horses that have qualified for this year’s race.”

In a statement, Zedan echoed his lawyer’s comments.

“I am a longtime admirer of the Kentucky Derby and specifically headquartered my stable…in Kentucky because it is world renowned for horse breeding,” Zedan said in the statement. “Bringing this lawsuit is the last thing I ever wanted or expected.

But given Bill Carstanjen’s vindictive personal vendetta against our stable’s trainer Bob Baffert–who happens to be one of the most legendary trainers in the history of our sport–the horse racing industry I revere is being compromised.”

“While I am not a plaintiff in the lawsuit recently brought by Zedan Racing Stables against Churchill Downs, I would like nothing more than for the horses I train to have an opportunity to run at Churchill Downs,” Baffert told The Times in a text.

It may be a long shot, but Zedan is clearly trying to open up a legal avenue that will allow his horses to race in the Derby. With the Derby just 42 days away, the Zedan team is playing it close when it comes to being granted a temporary injunction.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Monday morning with Judge Bryant Wilcox.

The post Report: Zedan Sues Churchill in Attempt to Force Track to Accept Baffert Entries appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Got questions? Please complete the form below and we’ll get back to you asap.

Join Bobby's Newsletter

Enter your email to sign up for Bobby’s newsletter get new racing tips right in your inbox.