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Muth Out of the Kentucky Derby

April 26, 2024

With less than two weeks remaining until the Kentucky Derby, thoroughbred owner Amr Zedan of Zedan Racing Stables has exhausted all of his options to get top 3-year-old Muth into the Derby. The Arkansas Derby winner will sit on the sidelines on May 4, 2024, when the best 3-year-olds from America and Japan will line up at Churchill Downs for a chance to win the Derby.

It's worth noting that Muth is clearly rated as one of the top three (3) three-year-old colts/geldings in the U.S. He has a racing record of 6-4-2-0 and a bankroll of $1,504,100. His victories include the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita and the aforementioned Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park.

Why Muth Will Be Denied Entry into the Kentucky Derby

In 2021, the Bob Baffert-trained Medina Spirit took the 2021 Kentucky Derby. In a subsequent mandatory drug, Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned medication and Baffert was held accountable. It didn't help that Baffert also had encountered banned substance issues just before the 2021 Derby. That served as additional motivation for Churchill Downs officials to issue a 2-year ban on Barrfet-trained horses entering races at the historic track.

The ban was initially scheduled to run through the 2023 Kentucky Derby. However, it was extended an additional year when the same Churchill Downs officials felt Baffert had not shown sufficient remorse.

The real victims of Muth's banning are horse racing fans all over the world. The exclusion of a serious contender for what seems nothing more than racing politics ensures there will be experts who believe the race was compromised.

The Latest Appeal Goes Down in Flames

It's important for racing fans to understand that Zedan did have the opportunity to move his horse to another barn. Had he done that by the January deadline, Muth could be running under the name of another trainer. Zedan simply chose to be loyal to Baffert, a relationship that has been ongoing for years.

At two levels, Zedan had been seeking an injunction that would direct Churchill Downs to allow Muth's entry into the big race. The first appeal was made to the Jefferson County Circuit Court just last week. When the lower court sided with Churchill Downs, Zedan immediately sought relief from the Kentucky Court of Appeals. After a hearing on Wednesday, April 24, the Appeals Court upheld the lower court's ruling.

The central argument from Churchill Downs centered on the fact that Zedan knew more than one year ago that Baffert horses had been banned from the race track. That was the point in time when Zedan paid a whopping $2 million at the Ocala Breeders' 2-Year-Olds in Training March Sale of 2023.

Unless Zedan wants to push this the the SCOTUS, all options have been exhausted. Zedan Racing Stables has decided to accept the defeat and looks forward to running Muth in the 2024 Preakness Stakes on May 18, 2024. That's where Muth might get a chance to run again the Derby winner to prove his true worth.


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