Medina Spirit’s first place in this year’s Kentucky Derby came one step closer to overthrow after a post-race drug test for the colt trained by Bob Baffert was confirmed positive by a second sample taken at the same time.
The shared sample from Medina Spirit confirmed the finding of betamethasone at 25 picograms. Baffert’s attorney Craig Robertson said in an email on Wednesday. He said there are other tests being carried out that Baffert believes the presence of the drug in Medina Spirit is due to an ointment applied to a rash.
The horse must be disqualified based on the split-sample confirmation but the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has not yet completed its investigation. The test result was previously reported by the New York Times.
If Medina Spirit is disqualified, the prize money for first place of $ 1.8 million will be forfeited. Mandaloun, the runner-up in the derby, would be declared the winner.
The news comes just days before the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, the final leg of the Horse Racing Triple Crown. The New York Racing Association had banned Baffert from riding horses on their premises until the matter was resolved with Medina Spirit
After the Kentucky Derby on May 1, Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug that was used on Race day may not be in a horse’s system. Baffert initially said that Medina Spirit had never been treated with the drug, but two days later the horse said it had developed a rash and was treated with an ointment containing betamethasone in the run-up to the derby.
« We expect these additional tests to confirm that the presence of betamethasone is from the Otomax topical ointment and not from an injection. ”Robertson wrote on Wednesday. “Ultimately, we assume that this is about treating the Medina Spirit rash with Otomax. We won’t have anything else to say until the additional testing is complete.
Clark Brewster, an attorney representing Medina Spirit’s owner Amr Zedan, said there was no attempt to cheat or break the rules. Those environmental connections that appear at the picogram level are really irrelevant.
68-year-old Baffert has won a record 17 Triple Crown races, including seven Kentucky Derbies, and his horses have raked in more than $ 320 million Earned prize money. He broke the sport’s triple-crown drought in 2015 with American Pharoah and did it again in 2018 with Justify.
But the legitimacy of Baffert’s success comes under scrutiny after a spate of positive drug violations. Medina Spirit is Baffert’s fifth drug offender in the last 13 months.
« There are problems in racing but it’s not Bob Baffert, » he said. said Bob Baffert as he stood in front of his barn
on May 9th.
Baffert has a history of doping violation statements that have softened the penalties.
Two Baffert-trained horses, Gamine and Charlatan, competed in separate races at Oaklawn Park in May 2020 Hot Springs, Ark., Tested positive for the pain reliever lidocaine. Both horses were then disqualified and Baffert was hit with a suspension. The sentences were overturned in April 2021 on appeal due to possible contamination, as horses outside of Baffert’s stable also tested positive for traces of the same drug
In July 2020, Merneith tested positive for dextrorphan, a common ingredient in cough suppressants. Baffert said a groom who contacted Covid-19 urinated on hay that the horse later consumed. Baffert was fined $ 2,500 for the violation.
In September, Gamine finished third at the Kentucky Oaks but was disqualified after testing positive for betamethasone. The wait is 14 days for the drug and Baffert said the filly was given 18 days before the race. The disqualification persisted, but Baffert was only fined $ 1,500.
In a database maintained by the Jockey Club, Baffert has been cited for four other drug offenses in California since 2016. He was fined a total of $ 3,250 for the violations.
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