‘We Cannot Make Things Up As We Go Along’: Agreement Reached For Medina Spirit To Run In Preakness

1/ST RACING and the Maryland Jockey Club announced Tuesday that Medina Spirit will be permitted to enter into the 146th Preakness Stakes (G1) to be run on Saturday, May 15, with rigorous conditions to entry along with a binding commitment from Bob Baffert to full transparency of medical and testing results that will allow for all results to be released to the public.

The decision comes following the May 9 announcement of a reported medication positive of betamethasone, an allowable therapeutic, as a result of the post-race blood sample testing following the 147th Kentucky Derby involving Medina Spirit trained by Bob Baffert. Baffert has disputed those claims.

As a condition of acceptance of the entry, Baffert has provided his consent to the Maryland Jockey Club to allow for rigorous testing and monitoring in addition to that conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission (MRC).

Those additional tests and monitoring are to ensure the fairness and integrity of the races entered by horses trained by Baffert, which are the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) and the 146th Preakness Stakes (G1). A copy of Baffert’s consent agreement is available below. It has also been provided by Baffert to the MRC.

Medina Spirit and Concert Tour are presently entered into the 146th Preakness Stakes and Beautiful Gift in the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. All graded stakes races will be run free of race day medications.

Consistent with the fair procedures and practices established by 1/ST RACING and MJC, Baffert consents to the disclosure of information and results of the MRC and MJC tests, along with other relevant medical and administrative records to the MJC and Dr. Dionne Benson, Chief Veterinary Officer, 1/ST RACING.

If any of the three Baffert horses test positive for a banned substance, or at a level for a permitted therapeutic substance that is above the designated limit, or if after medical review, reasonable conditions warrant, Baffert or MJC on his behalf, will scratch the horse in question.

“Integrity, accountability and safety in our sport are principles that 1/ST RACING puts above all else. Our company has a track record of instituting process and protocols that have led to nationwide medication reforms and we are unwavering in our commitment to put horse and rider safety at the forefront,” said Craig Fravel, Chief Executive Officer, 1/ST RACING. “We are well aware of the public outcry and calls for action that have been the natural outcome of a medication positive in one of the most iconic races in our sport and we share the disappointment and concern.

“We are required to acknowledge in this instance that fundamental fairness compels us to respect the individual rights of participants in our sport to due process and adherence to agreed-upon and well-established rules. To this point, there has to our knowledge been no split sample testing as is required in every state in this country and no complaint or other official action has been announced by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission with regard to this incident. While the integrity of our sport is of utmost importance it is the responsibility of those in authority to follow the rules even as we seek to enforce them. We cannot make things up as we go along and we trust that the competitors, bettors and fans will understand the importance of adhering to that principle.”

The Preakness meet operates under stringent veterinary testing protocols that are established and overseen by the Maryland Racing Commission’s Equine Medical Director, Dr. Elizabeth Daniel. These protocols are shared with all trainers the month leading up to the Preakness and include, as examples:

Out of Competition Testing that can be administered at any time prior to and on race day; samples are sent to two independent laboratories for testing

  • All horses racing on Black-Eyed Susan Day and on Preakness Day are subject to TCO2 within minutes of the race
  • Horses entered on Black-Eyed Susan Day and on Preakness Day will be examined daily by either a regulatory veterinarian or an association veterinarian and a consulting board certified equine surgeon
  • On both Black-Eyed Susan Day and on Preakness Day, four Maryland Racing Commission veterinarians will be observing horses on the track for soundness in addition to three 1/ST RACING veterinarians, including Dr. Dionne Benson, Chief Veterinary Officer,1/ST RACING
  • Any horse that is deemed unfit for racing by the Maryland Racing Commission veterinary team will be recommended to be scratched by stewards

For additional information on Preakness 146 Veterinary Protocols, please visit https://www.preakness.com/veterinary-coverage.

Bob Baffert’s attorney Craig Robertson released the following letter Tuesday afternoon, setting out the conditions of the deal to run Medina Spirit and Concert Tour in the Preakness. It was sent by Robertson to Alan Rifkin, attorney for The Stronach Group, operator of Pimlico.

Dear Mr. Rifkin,

In the best interest of horse racing, and the integrity of the sport, Mr. Baffert consents to blood testing, monitoring and medical record review by the Maryland Jockey Club (“MJC”) on the horse Medina Spirit, and two other horses trained by Mr. Baffert. Medina Spirit and Concert Tour are presently entered in the Preakness Stakes and Beautiful Gift is presently entered in the Black Eyed Susan Stakes.

In addition to the testing and monitoring conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission (“MRC”) and/or in cooperation with the MRC, the horses were tested upon arrival at Pimlico and further blood samples will also be drawn today and as may be further determined by MJC from each of the horses. The MJC blood samples will be tested by a lab chosen by the MJC.

Consistent with the fair procedure process provided by The Stronach Group, Mr. Baffert consents to information regarding the results of the MRC and MJC tests, and other relevant medical and administrative records relating to the horses being disclosed to the MJC and Dr. Dionne Benson, The Stronach Group Chief Veterinary Officer.

If any of the three horses test positive for a banned substance, or at a level for a permitted therapeutic substance which is above the designated limit, or if reasonable conditions warrant after MJC’s review of the medical or administrative records, Mr. Baffert, or MJC on his behalf, will scratch that horse from the upcoming race in which that horse is entered this weekend at Pimlico.

Mr. Baffert has given these consents to further the interests of horse racing and the public. MJC may provide this letter and consents herein to the MRC and Mr. Baffert consents to the public release of this letter and all testing results. Mr. Baffert represents that he has authority to grant the consents represented herein on behalf of the owners of the aforementioned horses.

The integrity of the sport is of the upmost importance to Mr. Baffert and by consenting to this testing regimen and monitoring he reaffirms his commitment and dedication to the sport. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely yours,

Craig Robertson

The post ‘We Cannot Make Things Up As We Go Along’: Agreement Reached For Medina Spirit To Run In Preakness appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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