Baffert’s Motions to Stop NYRA Disciplinary Case Denied

The Honorable O. Peter Sherwood has rejected two motions by attorneys symbolizing Bob Baffert meant to quit or hold off the New York Racing Association’s Jan. 24 disciplinary hearing with the embattled coach.

Baffert’s authorized group demanded that Sherwood recuse himself from serving as the hearing officer for the assembly and to dismiss the listening to owing to a extremely vires act by NYRA. Sherwood, a retired New York Point out Supreme Court Justice, rejected the two motions in a Jan. 19 ruling.

Baffert’s lawyers taken care of that Sherwood had a pecuniary desire in the result of the proceedings and has prejudged the deserves of the hearing, promises that Sherwood flatly turned down. 

“Recusal is not only unwarranted, but acceding to the requires would impair to the efficient administration of justice,” Sherwood wrote in his ruling. “In arguing for recusal, Baffert has offered no precise definite and articulable motive as to why I are unable to pretty and impartially preside in excess of this due process hearing. Somewhat, he asserts in an totally speculative method that I could be conflicted primarily based on the chance that I might have a pecuniary desire in the final result of this proceeding. He has offered not a scintilla of proof to assist this speculation. The movement for recusal really should be denied if only for this explanation.

“Getting served on the bench for over 13 a long time,” he extra, “I am really confident that I can impartially weigh and assess the specifics and law functions and get to a just dedication based mostly on the evidence offered.”

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Sherwood, who was born in Jamaica, West Indies, was named to the New York Condition Supreme Court in May possibly 2008 and served until finally past yr. Among the positions he held prior to remaining named to the bench have been corporate counsel of the Metropolis of New York, solicitor standard of the Condition of New York, and assistant counsel for the NAACP Authorized Protection and Academic Fund.

In Baffert’s motion, he claimed Sherwood was retained soon after “a solution process within NYRA” and since his attorneys ended up not specified the specifics about the collection system, Sherwood really should recuse himself.

“Baffert argues that my pecuniary desire can be implied by my refusal to remedy his questions about the situations underlying my retention by NYRA to preside over this hearing,” Sherwood wrote. “In small, Baffert argues that because I, as the listening to officer in this continuing, will not post to becoming a witness in this fishing expedition the place he hopes to uncover evidence of a non-existent fascination in the final result of this proceeding, I have to (or should really voluntarily) recuse myself. That basically is not the legislation and I decrease the invitation.”

Responding to promises he has prejudged the issue, Sherwood replied, “The argument is no additional compelling and no considerably less offensive in the context of a prejudgment assert.”

Baffert’s legal professionals also claimed that the proceedings should be halted since the hearing was scheduled with an ultra vires act by NYRA’s Racing Committee and not primarily based on an affirmative vote of its Board of Directors. 

In denying that motion, Sherwood claimed it was filed just after the Dec. 1 deadline for motions to dismiss and could not be listened to. He added that the argument also failed on merits, pointing out that the NYRA Board can delegate authority. He wrote that the Racing Committee addresses all troubles associated to NYRA’s racing functions and that disciplinary steps and proceedings versus racing personnel drop underneath the rubric of remaining connected to NYRA’s racing functions.

The disciplinary listening to that will commence Jan. 24 was a outcome of Baffert receiving a restraining purchase in federal court that blocked NYRA’s May possibly 17 short-term suspension of Baffert subsequent the announcement that his Kentucky Derby Offered by Woodford Reserve (G1) winner Medina Spirit  had unsuccessful a put up-race drug examination.

NYRA, in an amended complaint against Baffert, cited that horses less than Baffert’s care had six violations of racing principles and polices from July 27, 2019, as a result of prior to the 2021 Kentucky Derby Offered by Woodford Reserve. It also incorporated a California Horse Racing Board investigation that identified 25 improperly labeled medicines at Baffert’s barn.

The hearing could consider two or 3 times to full.