1/ST Racing Halts Baltas From Racing Pending Inquiry


Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Trainer Richard Baltas

Trainer Richard Baltas, one of Santa Anita Park's leading trainers, is unable to race or breeze horses at Santa Anita Park and other tracks owned by 1/ST Racing pending the completion of an investigation, according to Aidan Butler, 1/ST Racing's chief operating officer.

The notice of investigation was distributed via text message to BloodHorse from Butler. No additional comment was provided.

1/ST Racing is a division of The Stronach Group, which owns and operates Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields in California, and other tracks across the country, including Pimlico Race Course and Gulfstream Park.

Paulick Report first reported the investigation.

California Horse Racing Board public information officer Mike Marten wrote in an email that the CHRB is "investigating the circumstances surrounding the late scratch of Noble Reflection  from the 10th race at Santa Anita on May 8 and does not comment on pending investigations."

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Calvin Nguyen and Joey Tran's Noble Reflection was entered by Baltas in a starter optional claimer at the Arcadia, Calif., track Sunday before he was withdrawn. 

Late scratches occur for any number of reasons, including for unsoundness, illness, medication-treatment infractions, and pre-race paddock or on-track incidents. 

As of 5 p.m. ET Thursday, no complaints or drug sample positives related to Baltas and/or Noble Reflection had been posted over the past two months on the CHRB website.

The CHRB did report one May 9 fatality from one of Baltas' trainees, LNJ Foxwoods' Speedcuber , from a sesamoid injury incurred during racing May 7. Two other horses trained by Baltas have died from musculoskeletal injuries in 2021-22 according to CHRB online records.

Baltas has entries this week at both Santa Anita and Churchill Downs, though he may still be able to run his horses at Churchill, which is not a 1/ST Racing track. Unlike decisions by regulators, which are honored throughout North America via reciprocity, private-property bans and suspensions are typically unique to specific tracks.

Last year, 1/ST Racing issued private-property suspensions toward a group of trainers for medication violations at Gulfstream Park. In the spring of 2019, they also barred Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer from racing at its tracks after six horses under his care died at Santa Anita and Golden Gate during the preceding seven months. Hollendorfer has a pending lawsuit against the operator, which is expected to go before a jury this year.

Baltas, 59, currently the fifth-leading trainer during the ongoing Santa Anita Park meet, started training in 1991 after beginning as a groom and working his way up to assistant positions for numerous trainers. His stable amassed earnings of more than $4 million every year from 2016-21.

Baltas has 50 graded stakes wins, led by grade 1 triumphs from Idol , Going to Vegas , Secret Spice , Lady Prancealot , Next Shares , Spanish Queen , and Big Macher .