#US RACING: Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit split sample is positive

Medina Spirit
Medina Spirit

Bob Baffert's Kentucky attorney confirmed that the second split sample of 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a prohibited amount an anti-inflammatory drug.

“In response to the inquiries, this will acknowledge that the Medina Spirit split sample confirmed the finding of betamethasone at 25 picograms,” attorney Craig Robertson said in a statement.

“There is other testing that is being conducted, including DNA testing," he continued. "We expect this additional testing to confirm that the presence of the betamethasone was from the topical ointment, Otomax, and not an injection. At the end of the day, we anticipate this case to be about the treatment of Medina Spirit's skin rash with Otomax. We will have nothing further to say until the additional testing is complete.”

The New York Times initially reported the findings as Clark Brewster, attorney for Medina Spirit’s owner Amir Zedan, confirmed that a lab in California found similar results to the initial testing.

Brewster told the Times that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission agreed to send the sample elsewhere to try to confirm trainer Bob Baffert's theory that the positive was caused by a topical ointment.

Darren Rogers told Horse Racing Nation that the track is in a holding pattern with regards to the Derby results.

"At this time, Churchill Downs is awaiting official notification of the split sample results from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission," Rogers said in a text message.

Churchill Downs already has said in a statement that should the split sample come back positive, Medina Spirit will be disqualified from the race and Mandaloun, who ran second on May 1, will be declared the winner.

Baffert has been suspended indefinitely from racing at Churchill Downs and in New York, where the Belmont Stakes is being run Saturday sans participation from any of Baffert’s horses.

“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 May 9 statement from Churchill Downs reads.


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