Medina Spirit, the horse that won the 2021 Kentucky Derby, has failed a drug test. Its Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert, has been indefinitely suspended from Churchill Downs.
In a Sunday news conference (via Lexington, Ky., TV station WLEX), Baffert said Medina Spirit returned a positive test for 21 picograms of betamethasone, a Class C drug that is used as an anti-inflammatory. The legal racing limit is 10 picograms.
Baffert claimed to have no idea how Medina Spirit returned a positive test positive. He added that he will fight the ensuing ruling, calling it “a complete injustice.”
“Yesterday I got the biggest gut punch in racing for something I didn’t do,” Baffert said. “It’s disturbing. It’s an injustice for the horse.”
Shortly following Baffert’s news conference, Churchill Downs released a statement announcing Baffert’s suspension. The organization also added that, should a second test confirm the first, Medina Sprit’s result will be invalidated and that runner-up Mandaloun will be declared winner of the 2021 Derby.
“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.”
Baffert said Medina Spirit will run in the next leg of the Triple Crown, The Preakness. It’s scheduled to take place Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.