Owner appeals decision banning Muth from Derby

Horse Racing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Zedan Racing Stables has appealed a Kentucky Circuit Court ruling that denied its request for a temporary injunction seeking to allow Bob Baffert-trained Arkansas Derby winner Muth to race in next month’s 150th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

The stable’s motion filed Friday with the Kentucky Court of Appeals comes a day after Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry denied the injunction and expressed concern about “innocent third parties” having to remove eligible horses from the milestone Derby on May 4 to accommodate the colt trained by the suspended Hall of Famer. Muth won last month’s Derby qualifier but not the 100 points because of the suspension. Churchill Downs extended his suspension last July through the end of 2024 because of public comments following his discipline.

Perry also noted that ZRS was aware that Baffert’s horses had to be transferred to a non-suspended trainer by Jan. 29 to be eligible yet chose to remain with him. The judge also wrote that Churchill Downs has a duty to ensure rules and regulations put in place to “guarantee an even playing field” are upheld and followed as host of one of the world’s preeminent sporting events.

Zedan stated that it shares those sentiments in the filing and is pursuing the injunction to serve the public interest. It added that by excluding a horse based on a trainer’s public narrative rather than qualifications and merit, Churchill Downs Inc. is “skewing the Derby and casting a cloud over the ultimate ‘winner.’ … No one should want to see the Derby unfold this way.”

The filing also notes that while the court doubted some aspects of Zedan’s counts, it did not find any of them insubstantial.

“It would suffice if just one of Zedan’s claims affords a substantial prospect of invalidating the ban,” the appeal added. “For the reasons noted herein, all of them do, especially given CDI’s abject failure to advance any creditable justification for banning Muth from the upcoming Derby.”

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