Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Fails Drug Test, Hall Of Fame Trainer Suspended

By Mica Soellner May 10, 2021 | Image Source: Washington Examiner

The horse crowned the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby failed a drug test, prompting Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert to be indefinitely suspended by Churchill Downs on Sunday.

Baffert confirmed his horse, Medina Spirit, tested positive for 21 picograms of betamethasone, 11 picograms above the legal limit in Kentucky racing. The trainer insisted that he doesn’t know why the horse tested positive for the drug.

“Yesterday I got the biggest gut punch in racing for something I didn’t do. It’s disturbing. It’s an injustice for the horse,” Baffert said, according to NBC Lexington affiliate LEX 18.

The positive test, however, won’t automatically disqualify Medina Spirit, who will keep racing as Derby officials await another sample to come back before making a decision to disqualify the horse.

Churchill Downs defended its choice to suspend Baffert over the test results.

“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,” the organization said in a statement. “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.”

Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby on May 1. If disqualified, runner-up Mandaloun would be declared the winner.

The last horse to be disqualified for a positive drug test was Dancer’s Image in 1968, according to the Louisville Courier. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission ordered the horse who came in second to be considered the winner of that year’s derby, except for pari-mutuel payoffs.

Author: Mica Soellner

Source: Washington Examiner: Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit fails drug test, Hall of Fame trainer suspended