Trainer Richard Baltas has been suspended 365 days and fined $10,000 by California Horse Racing Board stewards for “conduct detrimental to racing” and violating medication rules over a 24-day period at Santa Anita Park last spring.
Baltas, who has won 722 races including seven Grade 1 stakes since taking out his trainer’s license in 1991, is alleged to have had prohibited race-day administrations given to his horses on 21 occasions from April 15 through May 8, 2022. The treatments, said to be captured on Santa Anita’s surveillance cameras, allegedly involved “X-Treme Air Boost,” and “other substances,” according to the ruling.
A complaint filed by the CHRB against Baltas last June 21 included an investigation report outlining actions of an assistant trainer who allegedly was seen on video surveillance administering an oral dose of an unknown substance to the horse Noble Reflection on May 8. A search of the barn uncovered an empty tube of X-Treme Air Boost that allegedly had the horse’s name written on it.
According to the report, Martin Valenzuela, an assistant trainer to Baltas, originally told investigators he did not administer anything to the horse but when informed there was video admitted that he had. Valenzuela told investigators he had been told by Baltas to administer the substance – thought to help control bleeding – between 24 and 48 hours before a race but had forgotten to do so with Noble Reflection and instead gave it on race day. Stewards scratched Noble Reflection from his race May 8.
Video surveillance reviewed by officials allegedly showed similar race-day activity occurred with over 20 Baltas horses over the period in question.
Officials with 1/ST Racing told Baltas he was not welcome to race or breeze horses at any of their facilities, including Santa Anita and San Luis Rey training center where he kept a large part of his stable. Baltas has run a handful of starters in Kentucky and Texas since the ejection, his last runner coming at Lone Star Park in Texas on July 16.
In August, Baltas sued the CHRB after he was denied entries at Los Alamitos in California, saying the regulatory agency deprived him of his due process rights.
The suspension, which will be reciprocated in all North American jurisdictions, runs from Dec. 9, 2022, through Dec. 8, 2023.