After Revelation of NYRA’s Deep Connections to Baffert, Groups Seek Answers on Board’s Conflicts of Interest

PETA and NYCLASS Call On NYRA to Explain How Ties to Disgraced Trainer Will Influence Decisions

For Immediate Release:
May 18, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

New York – PETA and NYCLASS are calling on the New York Racing Association (NYRA) today to explain how it will deal with conflicts of interest that may influence its decision on whether trainer Bob Baffert will be permanently banned from NYRA-operated tracks, given that at least four board members appear to have or have had business ties with the disgraced trainer.

On Monday, NYRA suspended Baffert from racing at New York tracks pending a ruling by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Medina Spirit, who tested positive for the prohibited drug betamethasone following his win in the Kentucky Derby.

In a letter sent this morning to NYRA, the groups point out the following connections to Baffert:

“We are concerned by potential conflicts of interest among some members of the board who appear to have or have had business ties to Baffert. … How will you ensure that these potential conflicts of interest don’t compromise—or even appear to compromise—your actions in this case?” write NYCLASS and PETA in their letter to NYRA. “Regulations are not simply meant to keep racing fair, but to protect horses. Drugging is abuse—and anyone who abuses a horse must not be allowed to race in New York.”

NYCLASS is an animal rights advocacy and political action nonprofit organization based in New York. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind