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Medina Spirit Drug Test Confirmed; Derby Win In Jeopardy

J. Tyler Franklin

  Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed another drug test. Trainer Bob Baffert’s lawyer said a split-sample test of the Kentucky Derby winner came back positive for the presence of the steroid betamethasone. That could lead to the horse’s disqualification and discipline for Baffert.

Attorney Craig Robertson said additional testing is being conducted to try to trace the source of the drug to an ointment and not an injection. A lawyer for Medina Spirit’s owner said the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will send the original blood and urine tests to an independent, accredited laboratory for further testing, the New York Times reported.

“We expect this additional testing to confirm that the presence of the betamethasone was from the topical ointment, Otomax, and not an injection,” Robertson said in an emailed statement.

Baffert announced the failure of an initial postrace drug test a week after the Derby. At the time, he said Medina Spirit tested positive for more than double the allowed limit of betamethasone, a steroid. Churchill Downs indefinitely suspended the Hall of Fame trainer.

Days later, Baffert said Medina Spirit received an antifungal ointment treatment the day before the race. The ointment contained the steroid, he said.

The horse ran in the Preakness Stakes last month, placing third.

A spokesperson for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission declined to comment, citing an ongoing investigation.

In an email, Churchill Downs spokesperson Darren Rogers said the company is “awaiting official notification of the split sample test results from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.”

The New York Racing Association has suspended Baffert until Kentucky hands down a ruling about Medina Spirit. That means the horse will miss the third Triple Crown race, the Belmont stakes, this weekend.

If Medina Spirit is disqualified, Mandaloun would be elevated as the winner of the Derby.

WFPL News contributed to this story.

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