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Medina Spirit’s Second Drug Test Is Positive


On June 2, 2021, the Louisville Courier Journal reported that the second drug test on the split sample of Medina Spirit’s blood confirmed the presence of betamethasone. The split sample drug test confirmed 25 picograms of betamethasone in Medina Spirit’s system.

Joe Drape of The New York Times reported that “a laboratory at the University of California, Davis, testing a second postrace sample from the Derby, confirmed the presence of the drug betamethasone, a corticosteroid that is injected into joints to reduce pain and swelling, at a prohibited level. Baffert chose the lab where the sample was tested.
“Clark Brewster, a lawyer who represents Medina Spirit’s owner, Amr Zedan, said the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has agreed to send the original blood and urine tests to an independent and accredited laboratory for analysis to determine whether the specimens contain other components proving the source to be the topical ointment.”

Churchill Downs Suspends Baffert
On Wednesday June 2, 2021Churchill Downs, Inc. “announced today the suspension of Bob Baffert for two years effective immediately through the conclusion of the 2023 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs Racetrack. The suspension prohibits Baffert, or any trainer directly or indirectly employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables, from entering horses in races or applying for stall occupancy at all CDI-owned racetracks. This decision follows the confirmation by attorneys representing Bob Baffert of the presence of betamethasone, a prohibited race-day substance, in Medina Spirit’s bloodstream on the day of the 147thrunning of the Kentucky Derby in violation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s equine medication protocols and CDI’s terms and conditions for racing.”

NYRA Suspends Baffert
“Baffert is currently suspended in New York and was prohibited from entering horses in Saturday’s (June 5) Belmont Stakes,” Horse Network reported.

“The New York Racing Association (NYRA) suspended well-known trainer Bob Baffert on Monday, (May 17, 2021) the association announced. The suspension means Baffert cannot enter horses at Belmont or any NYRA track. He is also not allowed to have a barn or stall at the three tracks that apply in the suspension. The Belmont Stakes are set for June 5,” according to CBS Sports.

“The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today (May 17, 2021) announced the temporary suspension of Bob Baffert from entering horses in races and occupying stall space at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack. … During the temporary suspension, NYRA will not accept entries or provide stall space to any individual employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables,” wrote Pat McKenna for the NYRA.

Update from the Paulick Report:
Natalie Voss reported on June 11, 2021: “At a hearing in Kentucky’s Franklin Circuit Court on June 11, Judge Thomas Wingate determined that the legal team for Medina Spirit's connections will be permitted to do extra testing on a urine sample taken from the colt after the Kentucky Derby; the only question will be how much urine an independent lab will have access to.

“Counsel for Medina Spirit trainer Bob Baffert and owner Zedan Stables filed a civil suit against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission earlier in the week demanding their right to test the split urine sample, which sat undisturbed in the commission’s freezer.

“An initial post-race test from Medina Spirit was positive for betamethasone, and that was later confirmed on a split sample test. Attorneys for Baffert and Zedan now want to do further testing on biological samples from the horse in hopes of proving that the betamethasone present came from a topical cream and not an injection, which they say would be permissible under KHRC rules.

“Jennifer Wolsing, general counsel for the KHRC, declined to speculate on whether a topical administration of betamethasone would require an exoneration in the case or whether it could be considered a “mitigating circumstance” with regards to penalty. She did point to the commission’s drug classification guidelines, which make reference to betamethasone without specifying what route of administration would result in a Class C finding.”

Also see: “Judge Urges Resolution Over Medina Spirit Urine Sample,” by Byron King. Bloodhorse. June 11, 2021.
Frakes, Jason. 2021. “Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit faces disqualification after drug test confirmed positive.” Louisville Courier Journal. June 2.
Drape, Joe. 2021. “Positive Drug Test Confirmed for Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit.” The New York Times. June 2.
Katkov, Mark. 2021. “Churchill Downs Has Suspended the Trainer of the Kentucky Derby’s Winning Colt.” NPR. June 2.
Kentucky Derby News. Churchill Downs Incorporated Suspends Bob Baffert for Two Years.
Gross, Richard R. 2021. “Officials at Churchill Downs have announced that trainer Bob Baffert will be suspended immediately for a period of two years.” Horse Network. June 2.
McCarriston, Shanna. 2021. “Bob Baffert suspended by New York Racing Association ahead of Belmont Stakes.” CBS Sports. May 17.
McKenna, Pat. 2021. “NYRA Suspends Bob Baffert”. New York Racing Association. May 17.
Voss, Natalie. 2021. “Judge: Extra Testing in Medina Spirit Case Will Go On, Only Question Is Sample Size.” Paulick Report. June 11.

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