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Bob Baffert says Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was treated with ointment containing steroids


Trainer Bob Baffert admitted on Tuesday that his horse Medina Spirit had been treated with an ointment containing a steroid in the days leading up to the Kentucky Derby. The statement comes after race officials declared the horse tested positive for betamethasone, a substance that breaks the rules of the breed.

Baffert said a veterinarian checked Medina Spirit and treated horse dermatitis with Otomax ointment, which contains betamethasone. Baffert said he learned the banned substance was in the ointment on Monday and the horse was treated with it daily until the day before the Derby.

“While we are not sure that this was the source of the suspected 21 picograms found in Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample, and that our investigation is continuing, equine pharmacology experts have told me. said that could explain the test results, “the statement said. “As such, I wanted to be frank about this fact as soon as I learned this information.”

Still, Baffert maintains that the positive result had no effect on the outcome of the race. “Medina Spirit is a deserved champion and I will continue to fight for him,” he said.

The horse racing world is eagerly awaiting the second round of test results, which will be performed in a different laboratory. If a second test is positive, Medina Spirit could be stripped of her Kentucky Derby crown and the accompanying $ 1.8 million purse. The horse would then become the second Derby winner to be disqualified for medication.

Bob Baffert says Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was treated with ointment containing steroids
Medina Spirit with John Velazquez on horseback on May 1, 2021 in Louisville.

Horsephotos / Getty


Baffert has previously denied treating the horse with a steroid and called Medina Spirit the victim of “canceling the culture”. But during his four-decade career, his horses have been reported with at least 30 drug violations. Five of them took place last year, although some were called off on appeal.

If the results of the second test are not back in time for Saturday’s race at the Pimlico Race Course, race officials will decide if Medina Spirit can participate. If the horse is stranded, Baffert’s attorney told CBS News he would likely file a temporary restraining order, forcing the case to court.

David Begnaud contributed reporting.

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