Earlier today, legendary horse trainer Bob Baffert was suspended indefinitely by Churchill Downs after a failed drug test by Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit.
As a result of the drug test, Medina Spirit’s win from this year’s Derby may also be vacated if the failed test is upheld.
Statement from Churchill Downs, which says it has immediately suspended Bob Baffert from entering any horses. pic.twitter.com/bBSQCgAVnv
— Ray Paulick (@raypaulick) May 9, 2021
However, this is not the winningest trainer in Derby history’s first run-in with illegal substances.
In fact, five of Baffert’s horses have been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs within the last year. This list includes Gamine, Baffert’s horse who placed third in 2020’s Kentucky Oaks run, along with Justify, the latest Triple Crown winner.
Baffert recently won a court case appeal against the state of Arkansas Racing Commission, in which he had been banned from Oaklawn Park following a positive drug test from two of his horses at the track.
The drug in question, betamethasone, is used to treat injury and pain in horses, and in large doses can be used to mask complications stemming from injuries. The drug is legal under Kentucky racing rules, in certain doses, and must be cleared 14 days before a horse races in the state.
Betamethasone was also found in the system of Gamine, as the horse in the Arkansas case tested positive for another painkiller, lidocaine.
Before the notorious Triple Crown run of Justify, the horse tested positive for drugs at the Santa Anita Derby, although nothing came of the results and Baffert was not punished, sending Justify on to be the 13th Triple Crown winner within the last 100 years.
As of now, Medina Spirit is still the champion of this year’s Kentucky Derby. However, this is subject to change depending on continued testing of the horse, with runner-up Mandaloun taking his place if he is disqualified.
Baffert and associated parties including Medina Spirit jockey John Velasquez will lose their purse reward if the win is vacated. However, bettors will not be affected in this scenario.
Medina Spirit is set to next take to the track next Saturday in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes.