Coach Bob Baffert plans to send the first Illumination winner to Saratoga for Class 1 testing this Saturday, Daily Racing Form reports. It will be his first starter in New York since a judge on July 14 lifted Bob Baffert’s ban by the New York Racing Association.
NYRA notified Baffert prior to the Belmont Stakes that it was suspending its ability to race horses or have stables on its racetracks due to its recent history of drug violations (five over a year period), the conflicting statements he made had media around the Medina Spirit scandal and the suspension of the coach by Churchill Downs.
Judge Carol Bagley Amon of the Eastern District of New York stated that the NYRA’s suspension of Baffert should not have come about without some sort of hearing that enabled him to bring up the organization’s allegations against him. Although NYRA was asserting its private property rights in the case, Amon said the organization was tight enough with the state that the suspension of Baffert was a government action that required due process.
The test stakes are held on seven furlongs above the main track and are limited to fillies in their second year. Baffert won the test last year with Gamine, who is expected to travel to the G1 Ballerina in Saratoga on August 28th. The trainer is not expected to be present at the Saratoga race on Saturday.
Illumination, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, broke her girl eight lengths on June 4th in Santa Anita, but has not driven since then. This was her fifth career start, but the first in over seven months during which co-owner George Bolton told DRF that the filly had been released and given time to grow up.
The purchase of a yearling worth $ 900,000 from the sale of Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select earned a Grade 1 placement at the Del Mar Debutante as a two-year-old and came third. She comes from the award-winning, multi-rated Street Sense mare Light the City from the family of Mastery, Two Step Salsa and Top Commander.
Read more in the Daily Racing Form.
For more stories about Baffert’s Kentucky Derby positive and subsequent litigation, please visit here.
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