Medina Spirit tested positive for an excessive amount of the steroid betamethasone, a drug sometimes used to treat pain and inflammation in horses. This could result in his losing first position to Mandaloun in the Kentucky Derby.
“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,” Churchill Downs officials said in a statement.
Trainer Bob Baffert is under suspension and will not be allowed to enter any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack. Baffert denied any wrongdoing promising to cooperate while the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission carries out its investigation into the matter.
Medina Spirit is Baffert’s fifth horse known to have failed a drug test in just over a year. Slightly more than double the allowable amount – 21 picograms of betamethasone – was found in the horse’s system in a postgame sample. Although betamethasone is legal under Kentucky racing rules, it must be cleared 14 days before a horse races.
“I got the biggest gut-punch in racing for something that I didn’t do,” Baffert said of the failed drug test. “And it’s disturbing. It’s an injustice to the horse. … I don’t know what’s going on in racing right now, but there’s something not right.”
Medina Spirit is expected to run in the Preakness on Saturday pending results of an investigation.
– Ella Breedlove