Testing On Medina Spirit’s Urine Sample Ready To Proceed In New York

Extra testing on Medina Spirit’s post-Kentucky Derby urine sample will begin next week, according to bloodhorse.com. Dr. George Maylin, director of the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Laboratory, has now received the relevant drug metabolite reference standards from Frontier BioPharm. Testing of the sample is expected to take approximately two weeks.

The Protonico colt’s Derby win is in jeopardy due to a positive post-race test result for betamethasone, a therapeutic medication that is not allowed on race day. Trainer Bob Baffert and his attorney have claimed the positive is a result of a topical cream (Otomax) used to treat a case of dermatitis on the colt’s hindquarters. Though the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has not yet held a hearing, required to disqualify Medina Spirit.

Counsel for Medina Spirit’s trainer Bob Baffert and owner Zedan Stables, Craig Robertson, filed a civil suit against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on June 7 demanding their right to test the split urine sample, which sat undisturbed in the commission’s freezer. Remnants of the original biologic samples were initially sent to be tested for those ingredients, but they were reportedly damaged before arrival at the plaintiffs’ choice of labs, the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Laboratory.

Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate ordered June 16 that the remaining urine sample be flown to the New York lab, that two KHRC representatives travel with the sample, and that plaintiffs fund the flight. Upon arrival, the KHRC was to retain 5 milliliters of the sample, while the remainder was to be tested for clotrimazole, gentamicin, and betamethasone valerate, active ingredients in the topical cream Otomax.

On July 14, the sample was flown to New York accompanied by Dr. Clara Fenger and Tom Huckeby, representing Baffert and Medina Spirit’s owner, Amr Zedan, as well as by KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil and equine medical director Dr. Bruce Howard.

On Aug. 9 in Judge Wingate’s courtroom, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s general counsel Jennifer Wolsing explained: “My understanding is that an affirmative defense is being mounted by the plaintiffs, to the extent that there may be some evidence as to how this substance (betamethasone) was introduced to the horse.

“We can’t have a stewards hearing until those testing results have come back, because that appears to form the basis of the defense the plaintiffs want to mount. We would really like those results so that we can press forward with a stewards hearing and find out more about this case.”

When that hearing occurs, Medina Spirit could be disqualified and Baffert could be fined and/or suspended by the KHRC. A suspension would be reciprocated across other racing jurisdictions.

Since his run in the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit has run four times. He finished third in the Preakness, then won the Shared Belief Stakes and G1 Awesome Again, and finished second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Read more at bloodhorse.com.

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