ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A familiar face will not be a part of this year's Preakness Stakes.
Longtime horse trainer and two-time Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert has been suspended by the Maryland Racing Commission, through July 2.
The move comes amid continued fallout from last year's Kentucky Derby, which was won by Medina Spirit, whom Baffert trained.
Following the race, Medina Spirit tested positive for an increased level of the steroid betamethasone.
Baffert claimed the horse had developed dermatitis on his hind end following the Santa Anita Derby, and that an ointment containing betamethasone was used to treat it.
Despite the test, Medina Spirit still raced in last year's Preakness, finishing second.
The thoroughbred died at three-years-old last December, following a workout in Santa Anita, California.
Baffert has since been suspended and barred from having any of his horses participate in this year's Kentucky Derby. At the time that decision came down, Medina Spirit was also stripped of last year's Derby win.
According to J. Michael Hopkins, Executive Director of the Maryland Racing Commission, the suspension there allows Maryland to do the same.
"The Racing Commission recognizes a suspension through reciprocity of any individual who has been suspended in another racing jurisdiction."
Local animal rights groups had been pushing for Baffert's suspension in Maryland, and applauded the Commission's decision.
“We applaud the Maryland Racing Commission for taking swift and decisive action against infamous trainer Bob Baffert to protect the integrity of the 147th Preakness and more importantly, protect the horses themselves,” said Marty Irby, senior vice-president at the Center for a Humane Economy and executive director at Animal Wellness Action. “Authorities in American horse racing have made it clear from sea to shining sea that Bob Baffert’s shenanigans will not be tolerated at any of the three Triple Crown races or in Baffert’s home state.”
Baffert trained horses have won a record, seven Preakness Stakes.