Somewhere in California, Bob Baffert is breathing a sigh of relief. Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit and his stablemate Concert Tour have been cleared to run in the Preakness Stakes.
There were doubts about the colts participating in Saturday’s race. When it was first revealed that the Derby winner tested positive for the anti-inflammatory steroid betamethasone, it cast a shadow over Baffert and led to the legendary trainer being suspended from Churchill Downs.
On Friday, Maryland racing officials announced that Medina Spirit passed his second wave of drug testing. The tests were part of an agreement that was reached to allow Baffert’s horses to participate in the Preakness. So long as they passed the tests, the horses could race.
“While we acknowledge the challenging circumstances that prompted this further need for transparency, it reflects, above all else, that the principles of integrity, accountability, and safety in our sport are non-negotiable,” said Craig Fravel, CEO of 1/ST Racing, which is a part of the group that owns Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, site of the Preakness, per ESPN.
With that now in the rearview mirror, it’s game on for Baffert’s horses. His filly Beautiful Gift finished seventh in the Black-Eyed Susan on Friday.
Medina Spirit will start from the No. 3 post position Saturday while Concert Tour will start from the No. 10 post in the 10-horse field. As of this writing, they are the two favorites in the race with Medina Spirit (9-5) holding a slight edge on Concert Tour (5-2).
Baffert chose to stay home this weekend so as to not be a distraction, The Washington Post reported.