Huge breaking news in the Horse Racing world this morning.
Just one week after his victory at the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit tests positive for 21 picograms of betamethasone.
Bob Baffert broke the news this morning at Churchill Downs, calling it “the biggest gut punch in racing for something I didn’t do,” and an injustice to the horse.
Bob Baffert: Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone. He says the horse was not treated with that and there will be an investigation. No DQ yet for Derby. pic.twitter.com/r38gUTbjoH
— Tyler Greever (@Tyler_Greever) May 9, 2021
Medina Spirit has yet to be disqualified and a second sample is still being processed. The horse is expected to depart for the Preakness on Monday.
Medina Spirit gave Baffert his seventh Kentucky Derby victory, but the trainer is certainly no stranger to controversy. Last September, this same drug was found in the system of Gamine, the horse who finished third in the Kentucky Oaks last September. In Novemeber 2020, The New York Times reported that Baffert-trained horses have failed at least 29 drug tests in his four-decade career.
Last month Baffert won an appeals case before the Arkansas Racing Commission, which had suspended him for 15 days for a pair of positive drug tests involving two of his horses that won at Oaklawn Park on May 2, 2020.
“There’s problems in racing,” Baffert said to the media this morning. “But it’s not Bob Baffert.”
Churchill Downs has responded to the news by suspending Bob Baffert from entering any horse at Churchill Downs. In a statement that reads:
It is our understanding that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample indicated a violation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s equine medication protocols. The connections of Medina Spirit have the right to request a test of a split sample and we understand they intend to do so. To be clear, if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner.
Failure to comply with the rules and medication protocols jeopardizes the safety of the horses and jockeys, the integrity of our sport and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby and all who participate. Churchill Downs will not tolerate it. Given the seriousness of the alleged offense, Churchill Downs will immediately suspend Bob Baffert, the trainer of Medina Spirit, from entering any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack. We will await the conclusion of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commissions’ investigation before taking further steps.
KSR will continue to follow this story as it develops.