Horse trainer Bob Baffert stood beside his lawyer Sunday as it was announced that last week’s Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, tested positive for elevated levels of betamethasone, prompting speculation the horse’s crown will be stripped.
Baffert on Sunday denied that the 3-year-old brown colt was ever treated with the anti-inflammation corticosteroid leading up to the Kentucky Derby win last Saturday. The drug is allowed up to a certain level, but postrace tests detected 21 picograms per milliliter — more than double the legal threshold in Kentucky horse racing—present in Medina Spirit’s system.
As of Sunday, Medina Spirit has not officially been disqualified, Baffert told reporters, pending a split sample test that could lead to an appeal even if the results are confirmed.
If Baffert’s appeal of the drug test is unsuccessful, Medina Spirit will be stripped of the prestigious Kentucky Derby crown and all money gained off the victory will be forfeited.
“Yesterday I got the biggest gut punch in racing for something that I didn’t do,” Baffert said during Sunday’s announcement. “[It’s an] injustice to the horse. I don’t feel embarrassed, I feel like I was wronged. But I’m going to fight it.”
No announcement has been made yet whether Medina Spirit will compete in next Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, the second race in the Triple Crown series.
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