Kentucky Derby winner fails drug test prompting trainer’s suspension

Medina Spirit wins the 147th Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit fails post-race drug test, trainer confirms GlobalNews

Additional testing is planned after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test. Trainer Bob Baffert revealed the test results Sunday, saying the three-year-old colt tested positive for elevated levels of Betamethasone, which is an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid and sometimes used to relieve joint pain in horses. Betamethasone is allowed in horse racing in certain amounts. Medina Spirit’s post-race test detected 21 picograms per milliliter which is more than double the permitted limit in Kentucky racing.

Baffert denied Medina Spirit has ever been treated with Betamethasone and said his team would conduct its own investigation. “These are pretty serious accusations here, but we’re going to get to the bottom of it and find out. We know we didn’t do it,” Baffert said, calling the test results an “injustice to the horse.”

This is not Baffert’s first run-in with reports that his horse failed a drug test: Last month, the Arkansas Racing Commission upheld a ruling that two of Baffert’s horses had tested positive for lidocaine beyond the accepted levels. However, the commission dropped a 15-day suspension for Baffert.

Baffert became the 11th trainer to win the Triple Crown in 2015 when American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. He became only the second trainer to win the Triple Crown twice a few years later with the horse Justify.

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