Medina Spirit, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, was able to enter Preakness despite failed drug tests
Medina Spirit coach Bob Baffert claims the trophy after winning the 147th round of the Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit, his seventh career win at the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Andy Lyons | Getty Images
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was allowed to compete in the upcoming Preakness Stakes race on Tuesday under certain conditions, despite failing a drug test for the steroid betamethasone after her Derby win.
The terms, including “a mandatory commitment” from Medina Spirit trainer Bob Baffert for “complete transparency of medical and test results, allowing all results to be made available to the public,” said the Maryland Jockey Club and 1 / St Racing in one Explanation.
The statement said that Medina Spirit and another horse trained by Baffert, Concert Tour, will be “strictly tested and monitored” and will also run in preakness.
The 146th run of Preakness, the second jewel of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing, will take place on Saturday at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Baffert’s attorney had previously threatened to obtain an injunction if the Medina Spirit was banned from Preakness Stakes as the trainer awaits a second drug test from the derby that would end in the horse’s victory if positive.
Another Baffert horse, the filly Beautiful Gift, will be used in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes by George E. Mitchell in Pimlico on Friday and, according to a statement on Tuesday, is subject to the same conditions.
“If one of the three Baffert horses tests positive for a prohibited substance or for a permissible therapeutic substance that is above the specified limit, or if, after medical examination, reasonable conditions warrant it, Baffert or [Maryland Jockey Club] the horse in question will scratch in his name, “the statement said.
Baffert announced Sunday that Medina Spirit tested positive for 21 picograms of betamethasone, 11 picograms above the legal limit, on the day of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Louisville.
Baffert, who was suspended indefinitely by Churchill Downs because of the failed initial test, said at the time he had no knowledge of how the steroid, normally used to treat a horse’s joints, got into Medina Spirit’s system.
“I got the biggest blow in racing for something I didn’t do,” said Baffert on Sunday. His now impending win with Medina Spirit was his seventh Kentucky Derby win.
So far this year five horses trained by Baffert have failed drug tests.
John Velazquez on board Medina Spirit (8) wins the 147th round of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Michael Clevenger | USA TODAY Sports | Reuters
On Tuesday, hours before the Preakness Stakes agreed to let his horses run, Baffert made a statement through his attorney that Medina Spirit had been treated with an antifungal ointment containing betamethasone once a day, which led to the Kentucky Derby, the in May 1.
“My investigation is ongoing and we don’t know for sure if this ointment caused the test results or if the test results are correct because the split sample has not yet confirmed them,” said Baffert.
“I have been told that a finding as small as 21 picograms may be consistent with the use of this type of ointment.”
Mary Scollay, executive director and chief operating officer of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, told NBC News it was hard to believe that Baffert and his vet didn’t know that betamethasone was in the drug Otomax.
“It’s on the subway,” said Scollay.
“At this point, it’s almost an aggravating factor.”
Only two other horses in the 147-year history of the Kentucky Derby have been disqualified, according to the Associated Press.