Bob Baffert Sues Social Media Influencers: Accuses Them of Extortion, Defamation

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:

Horse trainer Bob Baffert has filed a lawsuit against two social media personalities - Swift Hitter, Barshoelife - for alleged extortion and defamation.


The suit was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, by Baffert and Bob Baffert Racing Stables, Inc., against New Jersey residents Justin A. Wunderler (@SwiftHitter) and Daniel Dicorcia @barshoelife.  Both are described in the complaint as “part-time pari-mutuel thoroughbred racing bettor” with a “substantial social media presence.”

The alleged behavior by both defendants began after Baffert's horse Medina Spirit failed a drug test following his 2021 Kentucky Derby win.

Over that same time frame, the complaint alleges, Wunderler and Dicorcia “have engaged in an escalating pattern of unlawful and threatening behavior directed specifically at Baffert and his family. This escalating pattern of outrageous behavior is specifically intended to accrue more followers and personal monetary gain.”

The suit claims that Wunderler “specifically asked his followers to bring dangerous objects to hurl at Baffert and his family,” and claimed that Baffert “slaughters horses on national TV.”

Other claims allege both influencers “spearheaded a conspiracy theory alleging that Baffert was scratching his horses because of an adverse reaction” to blood-doping with erythropoietin, or EPO. “Specifically,” the complaint alleges, “Mr. Wunderler accused Baffert of scratching the thoroughbred racehorse 'Muth' because of a 'reaction to EPO. 100 %%' and claimed at least twice that a 'bad shipment of EPO has hit (Baffert's) barn.'”

“Baffert does not engage in blood doping,” the complaint states, “and public investigations into various racing incidents have repeatedly noted that there is no evidence that Baffert engages in blood doping.”

According to the complaint, Wunderler is said to claim he is in possession of "videos of unknown content".

This was supported by a post made on Twitter Sept. 5: “There is a video out there that will end Baffert.”

The complaint further claims that

The complaint alleges that Wunderler and Dicorcia engaged in a “conspiracy to extort money from Baffert, sent a text message demanding a sum certain (sic)  of money, with specific payment instructions for wiring money, in exchange for a promise not to release information defendants allege is so damaging that it will end Baffert's career.

“In furtherance of this conspiracy, Mr. Wunderler instructed a third party to deliver that message to Baffert's representatives, and that message was in fact delivered to Baffert when it was forwarded to Baffert's wife.”

NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor Mike Abadir explained via Twitter just how damning this case is against the co-defendants.

"Total money grab. He wouldn't even know who the hell they are if they didn't black mail him," he tweeted. "Extortion is unacceptable and unethical. If I'm his lawyer, i'd bring it hard against these jokers."

Wunderler has just shy of 13K followers on Twitter.  Dicorcia has close to 16K.  Based on current Twitter posts, it appears the two influencers may have had a falling out with one another.

Dicorcia tweeted:

"I love all the little twitter bottom feeding clout sucking accounts piling on swift. guys, he ruined his own life. he royally fucked up. your tweets aren’t gonna hurt him any more than he hurt himself."

CaptThinToWin responded by suggesting it won't be easy for Dicorcia to simply wash his hands of Wunderler.

"Swift has always been a scumbag.  You may have been too naive to notice, but that guy is a legit criminal.  You choose to boost him up and that reflects on you.  What is said and done on Twitter has repercussions on people in the real world.  You two hurt a lot of good people."

In regard to the damning video that supposedly exists and will ruin Baffert's career, one follower of Wunderler's joked:

"The video is going to look like those old Bigfoot videos offered as "proof" that Bigfoot exists."

He accompanied his tweet with one of those old Bigfoot videos.

Wunderler seemed to be doubling down a bit by posting texts referencing the supposed video mentioned in the Baffert lawsuit.

"Just goes to show you how this article was painted that my one source was right. My one source who was basically undercover said this."



It wasn't immediately clear what any of this is in reference to. 

Wunderler also insists he will continue to fight for the horses.

Baffert banned from Kentucky Derby for 2 years for allegedly doping horses

Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen at the time issued this statement against him:

“Reckless practices and substance violations that jeopardize the safety of our equine and human athletes or compromise the integrity of our sport are not acceptable and as a company we must take measures to demonstrate that they will not be tolerated. Mr. Baffert’s record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby. Given these repeated failures over the last year, including the increasingly extraordinary explanations, we firmly believe that asserting our rights to impose these measures is our duty and responsibility.”

Wunderler denies the allegations set out in the lawsuit.

"Never asked Bob Baffert for money.  I want to do what's best for horse racing," he told the San Diego Union Tribune.  "Bob Baffert continued to kill horses."

- Alejandro Botticelli, Senior Correspondent

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