SPK where do you stand on Medina Spirit and Baffert?

Halldan1

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Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit fails post-race drug test​

By Zach Braziller

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Medina Spirit, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, won the Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2021.
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The result of the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown is now in doubt, and a Hall of Fame trainer is facing skepticism, and discipline, following a positive post-race drug test of his horse.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s victory could be reversed, and Bob Baffert has been suspended from Churchill Downs after the horse tested positive for the steroid betamethasone that is used to treat pain and inflammation.

Baffert told reporters he would be transparent with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as it investigates the matter and denied knowledge of any wrongdoing. Medina Spirit was found to have 21 picograms of betamethasone in its system, Baffert said his barn was told.

“To be clear, if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner,” Churchill Downs officials said in a statement.

“Churchill Downs will not tolerate it. Given the seriousness of the alleged offense, Churchill Downs will immediately suspend Bob Baffert, the trainer of Medina Spirit, from entering any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack.”

For now, Medina Spirit will still run in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, unless officials at Pimlico or the Maryland Racing Commission prevent it from doing so. The organization that operates Pimlico, 1/ST RACING, said in a statement Sunday that a decision would be made after a thorough review of the case. The post position draw for the Preakness has been rescheduled for Tuesday.

Mandaloun is not planning to enter the second leg of the Triple Crown, meaning if the result is changed the hope of a Triple Crown winner in 2021 is over. Medina Spirit is the fifth Baffert horse to have failed a drug test in over a year, continuing a concerning trend.

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Medina Spirit trainer Bob Baffert at the Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2021.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“I got the biggest gut-punch in racing for something that I didn’t do,” Baffert said, referring to the failed test. “And it’s disturbing. It’s an injustice to the horse. … I don’t know what’s going on in racing right now, but there’s something not right. I don’t feel embarrassed. I feel like I was wronged. We’re going to do our own investigation. We’re going to be transparent with the racing commission, like we’ve always been.

“He’s a great horse. He doesn’t deserve this. He ran a gallant race.”

This has become a pattern with Baffert horses. The steroid betamethasone that Medina Spirit tested positive for is the same drug that was found in the system of Gamine, the filly Baffert trained that finished third in the Kentucky Oaks last September. It was disqualified and Baffert was fined $1,500. He did recently win an appeals case before the Arkansas Racing Commission. He was suspended by Oaklawn Park stewards for 15 days after a pair of positive drug tests involving two of his horses that tested positive for the painkiller lidocaine. Baffert, 68, said they were exposed inadvertently.

“I’m not a conspiracy theorist,” he said. “I know everybody is not out to get me, but there’s definitely something wrong. Why is it happening to me? You know, there’s problems in racing, but it’s not Bob Baffert.”

The last — and only — time a Kentucky Derby winner was reversed due to a positive drug test was 1968, when Dancer’s Image was disqualified and Forward Pass was ordered the winner. The 2019 winner at the Kentucky Derby was changed as well, when Maximum Security was disqualified for interference, and Country House was named the winner.

In a statement, Animal Wellness Action executive director Marty Irby called for the need to find those guilty of doping, granted the allegations of the positive drug test are proven to be accurate.

“If further investigation finds Medina Spirit legitimately tested positive for illegal drugs at the Kentucky Derby, then racing authorities should throw the book at those found guilty of violating the rules and punish them to the fullest extent of the law,” Irby said. “American horse racing will be held to a higher standard — there’s no excuse for rigging the ‘fastest two minutes in sports,’ especially at the expense of the horse’s well-being.”
 

SPK145

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Like to see what the investigation shows but Baffert gets no benefit of the doubt with his past. A stain on the sport. He trains a few of the horses I own shares in and I don’t like it.
 
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MBF72

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Other than being a big sports fan, I don't know a lot about this, but two impressions emerge:

1. Churchill Downs sounds very angry about the allegations. Would it react so strongly putting the track and race in a less than admirable light if it weren't almost certain?
2. And Baffert doth protest too much.
 

Halldan1

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He went on Sports Center late last night to plead his case. Take that for what you want.
 

NYShoreGuy

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Other than being a big sports fan, I don't know a lot about this, but two impressions emerge:

1. Churchill Downs sounds very angry about the allegations. Would it react so strongly putting the track and race in a less than admirable light if it weren't almost certain?
2. And Baffert doth protest too much.
One of the marquee events in all of thoroughbred racing has now had 2 significant issues within the last few years.
 

TheHall87

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While it's not necessarily germane to this topic, there is an excellent story in the current Sports Illustrated about the story surrounding former Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Pleasant Colony.

 
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Burnsly

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I heard a trainer being interviewed on the radio last night. Even though he's no fan of Baffert, he said the allegations of cheating are absurd. Evidently 21 picos translates to 3 trillionths of a gram & would have no effect on a 1,200 pound horse.
 

Halldan1

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Bob Baffert comes clean in Medina Spirit scandal after wild urine theory​

By Peter Botte

Hay is for horses, but it turns out not to be the likely reason Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned substance.

After previously insisting that Medina Spirit had not been treated with betamethasone — the anti-inflammatory medication the horse tested positive for after winning the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown on May 1 — Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert revealed the probable cause of the failed test.

In a statement released Tuesday by his attorney, Baffert acknowledged that Medina Spirit had been treated for dermatitis during the week leading up to the Derby with the anti-fungal ointment Otomax, which he claimed to be unaware contained betamethasone until he was informed on Monday.

“While we do not know definitively that this was the source of the alleged 21 picograms found in Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample, and our investigation is continuing, I have been told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results,” Baffert said in the statement.

In various media appearances on Monday, the 68-year-old Baffert had insisted that Medina Spirit had “never” been treated with betamethasone. He even floated the theory that the positive test might have stemmed from Medina Spirit eating hay in a stall ahead of the Kentucky Derby that had been urinated on by a groom who had ingested cough medication.

Medina Spirit arrived in Baltimore on Monday, although Baffert has yet to be informed if the horse will be permitted to run in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown.

I intend to continue to investigate and I will continue to be transparent. In the meantime, I want to reiterate two points I made when this matter initially came to light,” Baffert said. “First, I had no knowledge of how betamethasone could have possibly found its way into Medina Spirit (until now) and this has never been a case of attempting to game the system or get an unfair advantage.

“Second, horse racing must address its regulatory problem when it comes to substances which can innocuously find their way into a horse’s system at the picogram (which is a trillionth of a gram) level. Medina Spirit earned his Kentucky Derby win and my pharmacologists have told me that 21 picograms of betamethasone would have had no effect on the outcome of the race. Medina Spirit is a deserved champion and I will continue to fight for him.”
 

Pirate Russ

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I am a fan of Baffert. The guy has been amazing. I am sure many people in the industry don't like him because of how successful he is. While i have never met him, he comes across as relatively genuine person. Nonetheless, all these drug issues are a bit concerning. I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. It makes no sense. On the other hand, Steve Asmussen seems like world class prick.
 

hallsoccer03

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I am a fan of Baffert. The guy has been amazing. I am sure many people in the industry don't like him because of how successful he is. While i have never met him, he comes across as relatively genuine person. Nonetheless, all these drug issues are a bit concerning. I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. It makes no sense. On the other hand, Steve Asmussen seems like world class prick.
Isn’t the first time for Baffert with the failed drug tests... it’s bad when MS won the derby I thought right away I should have bet him because Baffert probably put something in him, turns out it was right to assume
 

SPK145

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Baffert has just been caught too many times, we took our 3 horses away from him today.