Louisville, Kentucky – On March 4, 2022, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced their decision to uphold a 90-day suspension previously handed down to American horse racing’s most infamous violator Bob Baffert by stewards at the commission in February. Animal Wellness Action executive director Marty Irby issued the following statement in light of the decision reached this morning by a vote of 10 to 0 according to WAVE in Kentucky.
“Bob Baffert is the Lance Armstrong of horse racing and has riddled the sport with scandal after scandal unchecked for years. We applaud the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for upholding Baffert’s suspension and believe making an example of America’s most embattled serial violator can be a key turning point for US horse racing,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and an 8-time world champion equestrian who was honored in 2020 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, II for his work to protect horses. “Just like the cockfighters indicted earlier this week in Kentucky, Baffert has gone far too long without facing the consequences of his actions against the welfare of the voiceless we all care so deeply about.”
In addition to the suspension, Baffert, and the late Medina Spirit were stripped of the 2021 Kentucky Derby title that was awarded to Mandaloun, who originally finished second.
Animal Wellness Action led the charge on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in the animal protection space working with coalition partners such as The Jockey Club; NYRA; The Breeders’ Cup; Water, Hay, Oats Alliance; and Stronach Group, and Irby testified before Congress at a 2020 House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the legislation. The legislation was later signed into law by president Donald J. Trump in December of 2020 and takes effect in July of this year.
Animal Wellness Action (AWA) is a Washington, DC-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies, and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.