Medina Spirit trainer Bob Baffert suspended from Churchill Downs
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned substance following the race last weekend, and the horse’s trainer will not be welcome at Churchill Downs for the time being.
Trainer Bob Baffert revealed on Sunday morning that Medina Spirit tested positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone. Churchill Downs issued a statement shortly after the announcement saying Baffert has been suspended from entering any horses into events at the racetrack. The track also confirmed that Medina Spirit will be disqualified and runner-up Mandaloun will be declared the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby if the results of Medina Spirit’s failed test are upheld.
You can read the full statement below:
“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 insists he had no knowledge of Medina Spirit being given a banned substance.
The corticosteroid is the same one another Baffert horse, Gamine, tested positive for after winning the Kentucky Oaks last year. Other Baffert horses have also had issues with failed drug tests. Justify reportedly failed a drug test before winning the Triple Crown in 2018, but the inquiry was quietly dropped under the guise that the horse could have eaten contaminated food. Two other Baffert horses tested positive for lidocaine last year and Baffert complained about confidentiality.