Baffert: Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Tests Positive For Betamethasone

Trainer Bob Baffert announced Sunday morning that Medina Spirit, winner of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 1, has tested positive for betamethasone, a corticosteroid, and faces a possible disqualification from the race – the first medication DQ since Dancer’s Image lost his Derby victory in 1968 after a disputed positive test for the anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone.

If the drug is confirmed in a split sample it would be Baffert’s fifth medication violation since May 2020.

Baffert said his assistant, Jimmy Barnes called Baffert yesterday while he was en route to the airport in California for a flight to Kentucky, notifying him that he had been served by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission after the post-race sample came back positive for 21 picograms of the medication.

Baffert insisted Medina Spirit has never been treated with betamethasone. “I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s something that is not right,” Baffert said.

“it’s not official till the split sample comes. Usually we wait fo that, but I wanted to get in front of it,” Baffert said.

A split sample typically is requested by the trainer and, if it confirms the original finding, a hearing is conducted with stewards.

Last November, in the wake of his fourth medication violation in 2020, Baffert issued a statement saying, “I want to raise the bar and set the standard for equine safety and rule compliance going forward.”

Baffert-trained Chalatan and Gamine both tested positive for lidocaine at Oaklawn Park on May 2, 2020, resulting in a 15-day suspension for the trainer and disqualification of both horses (Gamine from an allowance race and Charlatan from the G1 Arkansas Derby) – sanctions that were ultimately reversed by the Arkansas Racing Commission. Baffert was fined $5,000 instead.

Gamine then tested positive for betamethasone after a third-place finish in the G1 Kentucky Oaks on Sept. 4. She was disqualified and placed last and Baffert was fined $1,500. A fourth positive test came when Merneith was found to have dextrorphan in her system after finishing second in a July 25 allowance race at Del Mar. Baffert received a $2,500 fine for that violation.

The post Baffert: Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Tests Positive For Betamethasone appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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