And, they're off ... bettors are already suing Bob Baffert over the Kentucky Derby, claiming he knowingly cheated and screwed gamblers out of serious cash.
Baffert has been hit with a class-action lawsuit by several gamblers who claim they had money on the Kentucky Derby ... and feel Baffert cheated them out of their winnings by running a "drugged horse."
As we previously reported, Baffert -- the most famous trainer in the history of the sport -- trained Medina Spirit, which won the 2021 Kentucky Derby.
But, the gamblers ain't buyin' Bob's excuse ... and in a new lawsuit filed in federal court in California, they claim Bob is a serial doper who is part of a larger horseracing conspiracy.
The Plaintiffs claim there are conspiracies "between Baffert and other owners and or trainers to commit the above-described acts to engage in illegal gambling and/or horse doping through a pattern of racketeering activity."
"For example, on May 1, 2021, Defendants entered a doped horse, Medina Spirit, into the 147th running of The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky and won $1,860,000.00 as part of a horse-doping scheme in thoroughbred racing."
The gamblers in the lawsuit claim they had bet serious money on the horse that finished in 2nd place, Mandaloun -- and if not for Baffert's dirty horse, they would have won a fortune.
One plaintiff, Michael E. Beychok, says he bet nearly $1,000 on Mandaloun, which went off at 26 to 1 odds ... and if Mandaloun would have won the race, the payout would have been anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000.
Another plaintiff, Justin Wunderler, bet $2,000 "and would have provided a minimum potential payoff of at least $40,000."
"Plaintiff Wunderler’s wagers would have won, but for the illegal, drug-induced win by Medina Spirit. Thus, Plaintiff Wunderler is entitled to bring a civil action against Defendants."
There are more plaintiffs involved with similar stories ... and attorneys are actively looking for more angry bettors to join the suit.
The bettors are suing for an undisclosed amount -- but it's clear they want to get paid the amount of money they would have won plus punitive damages.