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Posted 2024-04-03 15:10:59  
Baffert Own Sues Churchill Downs for Derby Entry

A lawsuit filed on Wednesday could potentially pave the way for trainer Bob Baffert to enter a horse in this year's Kentucky Derby.

As outlined by John Cherwa in the Los Angeles Times, horse owner Amr Zedan is seeking permission from a Jefferson County, Ky., court for his horses, as well as those trained by Baffert, to participate in the prestigious race at Churchill Downs.

This particular lawsuit differs from previous legal battles involving Baffert and Churchill Downs, as it does not center around Medina Spirit, a Zedan colt disqualified from the 2021 Kentucky Derby due to a medication violation. Baffert faced a two-year suspension from Churchill Downs Inc., which was later extended, partly due to his perceived lack of remorse, despite his unsuccessful challenges against the suspension and disqualification.

In this latest lawsuit, unrelated to Baffert, Zedan alleges that he invested over $10 million in purchasing six horses in 2022 with the aim of competing in the 2024 Kentucky Derby. Additionally, he claims to have spent over $4 million on training these horses under Baffert, under the assumption that the trainer's suspension would have concluded by then.

Zedan argues in the lawsuit that Baffert's suspension lacks a contractual or common law basis, defies the authority of the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority, and jeopardizes the prestige of the Kentucky Derby.

Represented by prominent attorney John Quinn from Los Angeles, who notably represented LIV Golf in its legal dispute with the PGA Tour, Zedan's horses include Muth, whose recent Grade 1 Arkansas Derby victory would typically secure a spot in the Churchill Downs lineup, and Maymun, anticipated to compete in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), offering Kentucky Derby qualification points.

A hearing for the case is set for Monday, according to the Kentucky court system website.

Baffert, though not a plaintiff in Zedan Racing Stables' lawsuit against Churchill Downs, expressed his desire for the horses under his training to have the opportunity to compete at Churchill Downs in a text message to the Los Angeles Times. 

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