Kentucky Derby Winner Fails Post-race Drug Test, May Be Disqualified

Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit’s allegedly tested positive for betamethasone in a post-race blood test. In a statement, Churchill Downs revealed that if the findings are upheld, Medina may be disqualified and Mandaloun may take the winner’s place.

Medina Spirit Allegedly Tests Positive for an Anti-inflammatory Drug

The Kentucky Derby was won by Medina Spirit with trainer Bob Baffert earlier this month. However, in a post-race blood test, Medina Spirit tested positive for 21 picograms of betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug. The recorded dosage allegedly was nearly twice above Derby’s allowed threshold of 10 picograms.

In response to the test result allegations, Churchill Downs released a statement. It said that not complying with the rules and medication protocols “jeopardizes the safety of the horses and jockeys“. Furthermore, Churchill Downs added that such occurrences may impact the integrity of the sport and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby and its participants.

Additionally, Churchill Downs suspended Baffert from entering any horseraces at its racetrack. Now, an investigation by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is due before any other actions are taken. However, in the statement, Churchill Downs revealed that if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s result in the derby may be invalidated, which may result in Mandaloun taking the winner’s place.

Baffert Rejects All Allegations

Baffert rejected the allegation and deemed the occurrence as “disturbing” and “injustice to the horse”. Furthermore, he stressed that he received “the biggest gut punch in racing history” for something that he didn’t do. Although Baffert said that he is not into conspiracy theories, he acknowledged that there is “definitely something wrong”.

Furthermore, the trainer said that he does not feel safe to train and stressed that moving forward from such an occurrence can be difficult. Baffert vowed to fight against this injustice saying that he owns it to Medina Spirit, its owner, and the industry.

In more than 50 years, there has only been one Kentucky Derby winner that has been disqualified over an illegal drug. Back in 1968, Forward Pass won second place after Dancer’s Image won the Derby. However, a post-race drug test found phenylbutazone in a urine sample taken from Dancer’s Image. Then, after a legal battle that lasted four years, in 1972, Forward Pass was declared the winner.

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