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Kentucky Derby winner cleared for Preakness after passing drug tests


Kentucky Derby Winner Medina spirit was cleared to participate in the Preakness Stakes after passing three drug tests, the Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday. The announcement comes after the horse tested positive for the steroid betamethasone in a sample taken after the Derby, throwing the horse racing world into turmoil.

Medina Spirit and two other horses from trainer Bob Baffert have undergone three rounds of blood tests in recent days as a condition of entering this weekend’s races, which will take place at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore. All three horses were allowed to compete, the jockey club said. Medina Spirit and Concert Tour will take place in the Preakness, and Beautiful Gift will take place in the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

The controversy surrounding Medina Spirit began on Sunday when Baffert announced that the horse had failed a drug test after the race. Baffert said he was told the horse had 21 picograms of betamethasone, which is double Kentucky’s legal threshold, according to the Associated Press.

Churchill Downs, the racetrack that hosts the Kentucky Derby, suspended Baffert and said it would invalidate Medina Spirit’s victory if the post-race test results were confirmed.

Kentucky Derby winner cleared for Preakness after passing drug tests
John Velasquez rides Medina Spirit in Louisville on May 1, 2021.

Brian Spurlock / Icon Sportswire via Getty


Baffert denied using the steroid on the horse on Sunday, but said on Tuesday that Medina Spirit had been treated with a ointment which contained betamethasone 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 tell me. said this could explain the test results, “Baffert said in a statement. “As such, I wanted to be frank about this fact as soon as I learned this information.”

“Medina Spirit is a deserved champion and I will continue to fight for him,” he added.

This is not the first time that Baffert and his horses have come under scrutiny. His horses have been reported with at least 30 drug violations over his four decades of racing. Some of the violations were overturned on appeal.

Zoe Christen Jones and David Begnaud contributed to this report.

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