Bob Baffert-trained Muth loses appeal to enter Kentucky Derby

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A Kentucky appeals court judge has denied Zedan Racing Stables' requests for an emergency hearing and ruling that sought to allow Bob Baffert-trained Arkansas Derby winner Muth to run in next week's Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Jeff S. Taylor issued an order denying relief on Wednesday, saying Zedan's motion failed to name the Hall of Fame trainer suspended by Churchill Downs as an "indispensable party" in its motion. Taylor's order added that the action "constitutes an impermissible collateral attack by a nonparty" after a federal court ruled against Baffert last year.

Taylor also wrote the ZRS' "inexplicable" delay seeking relief from Baffert's extended ban by the historic track precluded consideration for emergency relief. A three-judge panel will hear the motions as standard procedure, but time is short for an immediate decision with eligible Derby horses required to be stabled at the track by Saturday morning. The post draw is Saturday evening.

ZRS sued Churchill Downs days after Muth's Arkansas Derby victory, seeking entry into the milestone 150th Kentucky Derby on May 4 despite the track's extended suspension of Baffert through the end of this year. The discipline keeps the two-time Triple Crown winner out of the Derby for a third consecutive year following an initial two-year suspension for a failed postrace drug test by deceased colt Medina Spirit (who was disqualified) after the horse crossed the finish line first in the 2021 race.

Muth won last month's Arkansas Derby but could not receive the 100 points that would have put Muth in the 20-horse field because of the suspension. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Mitch Perry denied the injunction last week and expressed concern about "innocent third parties" having to remove eligible horses to make room for Muth.

Perry also noted that ZRS was aware Baffert's horses had to be transferred to a non-suspended trainer by Jan. 29 yet chose to remain with him.