Leading Southern California trainer Richard Baltas currently is unable to enter horses at Santa Anita Park, according to Aidan Butler, chief operating officer of 1/ST Racing that owns the Arcadia, Calif., racetrack.
“We are conducting an investigation into matters concerning trainer Richard Baltas,” Butler said in a text message. “Pending completion of that investigation and any final decision based on the results, horses trained by Mr. Baltas are not permitted to enter races at 1/ST Racing venues nor engage in timed works.”
The action was taken days after LNJ Foxwoods’ Speedcuber suffered a fatal injury in the stretch run of a maiden special weight event on the Santa Anita turf in the seventh race on May 7.
On May 8, Baltas-trained Noble Reflection was entered in the 10th race and was a late scratch. “The CHRB is investigating the circumstances surrounding the late scratch and does not comment on pending investigations,” said CHRB spokesman Mike Marten.
Baltas has one horse entered on the Friday, May 13, Santa Anita program that is expected to be scratched but none on Saturday or Sunday. He has horses entered at Churchill Downs on May 13, 14 and 15 that would not be affected by the 1/ST Racing decision.
Operating one of the largest stables in Southern California with strings at Santa Anita and San Luis Rey training center, Baltas is fifth in the trainer standings at Santa Anita, with 24 wins from 164 starts. The latter number puts him third behind Doug O’Neill and Phil D’Amato in the number of starts at the current meet. He has had more than 400 starts in each of the last six years, the majority in Southern California.
Baltas could not be reached by telephone and did not respond to questions via text message.