What Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s second positive test means for Bob Baffert
While it remains possible that Medina Spirit is no longer the winner of the Kentucky Derby, one thing has been made official: Bob Baffert has been suspended for two years.
Wednesday, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced that he suspended Baffert and “any trainer employed directly or indirectly by Bob Baffert Racing Stables from entering horses in races or requesting the occupation of a stand in all racetracks belonging to CDI”.
Medina Spirit had tested positive for a banned substance shortly after the derby, but the decision has been appealed. As a result, the foal’s sample was retested in a laboratory chosen by Baffert. Again, he was positive for betamethasone, a steroid used to reduce inflammation.
In the Churchill Downs Incorporated press release, CEO Bill Carstanjen said he advocates strict drug regulations to ensure races are run fairly, and that “reckless practices and substance violations that put endangering “the safety of the horse or jockey or” compromising the integrity of our sport is not acceptable. “
“As a company, we must take steps to demonstrate that they will not be tolerated,” Carstanjen said in the statement. “Mr. Baffert’s record of test failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby. In view of these repeated failures over the past year, including the increasingly extraordinary explanations, we firmly believe that asserting our rights to impose these measures is our duty and responsibility.
The statement said the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has a decision to disqualify Medina Spirit and is seeking to complete its investigation into whether or not to make that decision.
Why this is important: Medina Spirit is now at risk of being disqualified from the Kentucky Derby following this positive test.
- If Baffert’s horse is disqualified, Mandaloun, the initial finalist of the race, would be declared the winner.
- The last time a winning horse was disqualified from the Derby due to a positive drug test was at Dancer’s Image in 1968.
- This is the second time in three years that the Derby winning horse has been disqualified. Maximum Security was disqualified in 2019 for dangerously blocking the path of other horses, leading Country House to victory.
What they say: Clark Brewster, an attorney who represents the owner of Medina Spirit, hopes the intent of the potential contamination, which Baffert says came from an antifungal cream applied to the horse, will be taken into account during discussions about the punishment potential for the horse.
- “If it was an accidental contamination, it would have to be taken into account. We hope reasonable minds and well-meaning regulators can see what it is and what it is not, and not have a drastic response. ”
- “I’m not a conspiracy (theorist) – I know not everyone is here to have me. But there is definitely something wrong. Why is this happening to me, you know,? ” Baffert said. “There are problems in the race, but it’s not Bob Baffert.”
What happens after: An official decision on Medina Spirit’s status with regard to the 2021 Kentucky Derby is expected to arrive soon.
- Baffert was suspended for two years from racing at all events organized by Churchill Downs. In addition, the CDI can also extend its suspension if there are other infractions.