Medina Spirit Checks Constructive For Steroid Once more, Kentucky Derby Win In Jeopardy

Bob Baffert’s lawyer mentioned Wednesday {that a} split-sample take a look at of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit got here again constructive for the presence of the steroid betamethasone, which may result in the horse’s disqualification and self-discipline for the Corridor of Fame coach.

Lawyer Craig Robertson mentioned the second take a look at confirmed 25 picograms of the steroid, after 21 picograms had been discovered initially. Even a hint quantity of betamethasone — a picogram is a trillionth of 1 gram — is prohibited on race day in Kentucky, Maryland and New York, that are residence to the game’s Triple Crown races, and regarded a violation.

Robertson mentioned extra testing is being carried out to attempt to hint the supply of the drug to an ointment to deal with a pores and skin an infection and never an injection. He and lawyer Clark Brewster, who represents Medina Spirit proprietor Amr Zedan, mentioned they anticipate assessments to indicate the ointment is accountable and never injections into one of many horse’s joints.

“I feel that may shed the sunshine most prominently on the problem right here for us,” Brewster informed The Related Press by cellphone. “The entire foundation for itemizing betamethasone is as a result of it’s injected right into a joint they usually need you to not inject the joints too near the race, so the entire substantive foundation is out the window if it’s a salve, and it may be confirmed scientifically and empirically to be the salve.”

Medina Spirit ridden by John Velasquez leads the Kentucky Derby en path to victory within the Might 1 Triple Crown race. However the triumph got here nearer to being overturned after the horse failed one other drug take a look at.

Guidelines in Kentucky don’t differentiate punishment based mostly on the supply of the substance, which may be given to horses to assist their joints and Baffert believes got here from the dermatitis ointment. Churchill Downs mentioned Medina Spirit can be disqualified if the break up pattern got here again constructive for betamethasone.

A spokeswoman for the Kentucky Horse Racing Fee declined to remark, citing the continuing investigation. Sherelle Roberts-Pierre mentioned the fee “values equity and transparency and can present data to the media and public on the shut of an investigation.”

A Churchill Downs spokesman mentioned the observe is awaiting official notification of the split-sample take a look at outcomes from the Kentucky Horse Racing Fee.

“On the finish of the day, we anticipate this case to be in regards to the therapy of Medina Spirit’s pores and skin rash with Otomax,” Robertson mentioned. “We may have nothing additional to say till the extra testing is full.”

Brewster mentioned he hoped the extra assessments would come again in per week to 10 days.

If Medina Spirit is disqualified, Mandaloun can be elevated because the winner of the Might 1 Kentucky Derby.

“I can’t management the result of that, so it’s one thing I give very, little or no thought to,” mentioned Brad Cox, who trains Mandaloun and can be the primary coach from Louisville to win the race.

Baffert is at the moment suspended by the New York Racing Affiliation and never allowed to enter any horses on this weekend’s Belmont Stakes pending the Derby investigation. He may face extra sanctions following his fifth medicine violation prior to now 13 months.

Maryland officers allowed Medina Spirit and Baffert-trained Live performance Tour to compete within the Might 15 Preakness at Pimlico and filly Lovely Reward within the Black-Eyed Susan the day gone by in any case three handed three rounds of prerace testing. Medina Spirit completed third and Live performance Tour ninth within the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, which went off with out Baffert in attendance.

Baffert initially denied wrongdoing in a Might 9 information convention saying the constructive end result, which he referred to as “the most important gut-punch in racing for one thing that I didn’t do.” He later cited the antifungal ointment as a possible trigger.

Requested if he thought assessments exhibiting proof of the steroid coming from an ointment would change the result, Brewster mentioned: “You’re asking me to foretell the conduct and the decision-making of others, however if you happen to ask me ‘ought to’ — completely.”

Activist Marty Irby of Animal Wellness Motion mentioned the results of the drug take a look at was “no shock” and referred to as on Kentucky racing officers to take the Derby title away and ban Baffert solely.

If Churchill Downs invalidates Medina Spirit as Derby champion, Baffert’s record-breaking seventh Derby victory can be erased in an embarrassing setback for the two-time Triple Crown winner, who’s the face of horse racing.

This is able to be the second Derby disqualification in three years after 2019 winner Most Safety was DQ’d for interference following the race and Nation Home declared the winner. The one earlier time {that a} Derby winner was disqualified after the very fact for failing a postrace drug take a look at was 1968 with Dancer’s Picture.

Simply earlier than the Derby, Baffert efficiently appealed his suspension in Arkansas after filly Gamine and colt Charlatan examined constructive for lidocaine following Might 2020 victories at Oaklawn Park. Fines had been lowered to $5,000 per horses.

California racing board officers in January voted to let 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify hold his Santa Anita Derby win regardless of detection of scopolamine in him in postrace samples.


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