Tag Archives: Medina

Failed post-race drug test confirmed for Derby 147 winner

Failed post-race drug test confirmed for Derby 147 winner Medina Spirit, Churchill Downs imposes 2 year ban on Baffert

Churchill Downs announced they are suspending Bob Baffert-trained horses from racing at the track for two years but no official decision on Derby disqualification.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — According to a statement from trainer Bob Baffert’s attorney, Craig Robertson, Kentucky Derby 147 winner Medina Spirit’s positive post-race drug test was confirmed. The horse tested positive for betamethasone following the race. 

Betamethasone is an anti-inflammatory drug that can give horses relief from discomfort. The second test confirmed 25 picograms of the drug were found.

State horse racing rules require at least a 14-day withdrawal time from the medication, and any level of detection on race day is a violation.

A second test was conducted by a laboratory at the University of California, Davis and confirmed the findings of the initial test.

Baffert initially denied claims that the horse was treated with the drug but changed course.

Baffert said the 3-year-old colt was treated with Otomax, an anti-fungal ointment, to treat dermatitis. The seven-time Derby-winning trainer said he was informed that betamethasone is an active ingredient in the ointment.

Robertson said there is other testing taking place, including a DNA test.

“We expect this additional testing to confirm that the presence of the betamethasone was from the topical ointment, Otomax, and not an injection,” Robertson said in a statement.

Clark Brewster, an attorney for Medina Spirit’s owner, said his client has asked that the original post-race sample be sent to a different lab to be tested for the drug.

Following the positive test, Baffert was suspended from running horses at Churchill Downs and other venues across the country. 

Wednesday, Churchill Downs announced a two-year suspension of any Baffert-trained horses from running at the track.

Churchill Downs full statement:

“Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has consistently advocated for strict medication regulations so that we can confidently ensure that horses are fit to race and the races are conducted fairly,” CEO of CDI Bill Carstanjen said. “Reckless practices and substance violations that jeopardize the safety of our equine and human athletes or compromise the integrity of our sport are not acceptable and as a company we must take measures to demonstrate that they will not be tolerated. Mr. Baffert’s record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby. Given these repeated failures over the last year, including the increasingly extraordinary explanations, we firmly believe that asserting our rights to impose these measures is our duty and responsibility.”

Churchill Downs said that if the findings of the test were upheld, Medina Spirit’s result in the Kentucky Derby would be invalidated and Brad Cox-trained Mandaloun would be declared the winner.

The racetrack said they are awaiting official notification of the split sample test results from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) before making any decision on a potential disqualification noting that they have sole authority to nullify the Derby win.

KHRC said they cannot provide an update on the status of ongoing investigations.

Medina Spirit finished third in the Preakness after clearing three rounds of pre-race drug testings. 

“At the end of the day, we anticipate this case to be about the treatment of Medina Spirit’s skin rash with Otomax,” Robertson said in closing. “We will have nothing further to say until the additional testing is complete.”

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This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Failed post-race drug test confirmed for Derby 147 winner Medina Spirit

Churchill Downs said they are awaiting official notice from the KY Horse Racing Commission before making a decision on a potential Derby disqualification.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — According to a statement from trainer Bob Baffert’s attorney, Craig Robertson, Kentucky Derby 147 winner Medina Spirit’s positive post-race drug test was confirmed. The horse tested positive for betamethasone following the race. 

Betamethasone is an anti-inflammatory drug that can give horses relief from discomfort. The second test confirmed 25 picograms of the drug were found.

State horse racing rules require at least a 14-day withdrawal time from the medication, and any level of detection on race day is a violation.

A second test was conducted by a laboratory at the University of California, Davis and confirmed the findings of the initial test.

Baffert initially denied claims that the horse was treated with the drug but changed course. 

Baffert said the 3-year-old colt was treated with Otomax, an anti-fungal ointment, to treat dermatitis. The seven-time Derby-winning trainer said he was informed that betamethasone is an active ingredient in the ointment. 

Robertson said there is other testing taking place, including a DNA test. 

“We expect this additional testing to confirm that the presence of the betamethasone was from the topical ointment, Otomax, and not an injection,” Robertson said in a statement.

Clark Brewster, an attorney for Medina Spirit’s owner, said his client has asked that the original post-race sample be sent to a different lab to be tested for the drug.

Following the positive test, Baffert was suspended from running horses at Churchill Downs and other venues across the country. 

Churchill Downs said that if the findings of the test were upheld, Medina Spirit’s result in the Kentucky Derby would be invalidated and Brad Cox-trained Mandaloun would be declared the winner. 

The racetrack said they are awaiting official notification of the split sample test results from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) before making any decision on a potential disqualification.

KHRC said they cannot provide an update on the status of ongoing investigations.

Medina Spirit finished third in the Preakness after clearing three rounds of pre-race drug testings. 

“At the end of the day, we anticipate this case to be about the treatment of Medina Spirit’s skin rash with Otomax,” Robertson said in closing. “We will have nothing further to say until the additional testing is complete.”

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Medina Spirit passes drug tests, cleared to run in Preakness

BALTIMORE — Medina Spirit has passed three rounds of prerace drug testing and been cleared to run in the Preakness on Saturday.
Maryland racing officials said Friday tests on the Kentucky Derby winner and fellow Bob Baffert-trained Concert Tour came back with nothing that would cause them to be scratched from the second leg of the Triple Crown. Baffert’s camp agreed to rigorous testing and monitoring of his horses as a condition of entry to the Preakness.
Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid betamethasone in post-Derby testing. If a second round of testing there comes back positive, Medina Spirit will be disqualified and Mandaloun named winner of the Derby.
Medina Spirit was set as the 9-5 morning line favorite for the Preakness and Concert Tour the 5-2 second choice in the field of 10.

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No, bets on Medina Spirit will not change if Kentucky Derby winner is disqualified

Although Medina Spirit may lose the title of Kentucky Derby winner, those who bet on the horse will keep their winnings even if he’s disqualified.

It’s been more than a week since the Kentucky Derby, and it is still unclear which horse will ultimately be declared the winner of the famed race. That’s because the horse that finished in first place, Medina Spirit, failed a post-race drug test and may end up being disqualified, pending the results of a second test.
As news broke of the possible disqualification, people had questions, especially those who put money on the race. They wondered how bets could be affected if Medina Spirit is disqualified and the horse who finished second, Mandaloun, is ultimately declared the winner.

THE QUESTION

Will anything happen to bets placed on Medina Spirit if the horse is disqualified?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.
No, nothing would change for bettors. People who bet on Medina Spirit to win the Kentucky Derby will get to keep their winnings, even if the horse ends up being disqualified.

WHAT WE FOUND

On May 1, Medina Spirit won the 147th Kentucky Derby and Mandaloun finished in second place.
Eight days later, on May 9, Medina Spirit’s trainer, Bob Baffert, announced his horse had tested positive for betamethasone in a post-race drug test. Betamethasone is a steroid used to limit inflammation in joints, according to Kentucky Equine Research.  
Churchill Downs, which hosts the Kentucky Derby, also released a statement May 9, saying, “It is our understanding that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample indicated a violation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s equine medication protocols.”
The statement went on to say, “The connections of Medina Spirit have the right to request a test of a split sample and we understand they intend to do so.”
It’s unclear when the second test will be completed.
If the results of the second test confirm the results of the first test, Churchill Downs says Medina Spirit would be disqualified and Mandaloun, the horse who finished in second place, would be declared the winner.  
However, if that happens, nothing will change for people who bet on Medina Spirit or Mandaloun. According to Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations, “Payment of valid pari-mutuel tickets shall be made on the basis of the order of finish as declared ‘official’ by the stewards. A subsequent change in the order of finish or award of purse money that may result from a subsequent ruling by the stewards or commission shall not affect the pari-mutuel payout.”
TwinSpires, an online wagering platform owned and operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated, said regardless of whether Medina Spirit remains the winner or is disqualified, payouts will not change.
“In the event there is a change in the results, based on Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations, the pari-mutuel payouts will not be changed,” a representative from TwinSpires said.
Only one other Kentucky Derby winner has been disqualified for a post-race drug violation. That was Dancer’s Image in 1968.
VERIFY
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Medina Spirit could lose Kentucky Derby win; track bans Baffert after failed postrace drug test

Trainer Bob Baffert denied all wrongdoing and promised to be fully transparent with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission during its investigation.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Medina Spirit’s victory in the Kentucky Derby is in serious jeopardy because of a failed postrace drug test, one that led Churchill Downs to suspend Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on Sunday in the latest scandal to plague the sport.
Baffert denied all wrongdoing and promised to be fully transparent with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission during its investigation. Baffert’s barn received word Saturday that Medina Spirit had tested positive for an excessive amount of the steroid betamethasone, which is sometimes used to treat pain and inflammation in horses.
Medina Spirit’s win over Mandaloun in the Derby stands — for now.
“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 shortly after Baffert held a hastily planned morning news conference outside his barn to announce and respond to the allegations.
The track said failure to comply with the rules and medication protocols jeopardizes the safety of horses and jockeys, the sport’s integrity and the Derby’s reputation.
“Churchill Downs will not tolerate it,” the statement read. “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.”
Medina Spirit is expected to run in the Preakness on Saturday, barring some abrupt change in plans or a decision from officials at Pimlico or Maryland’s racing commission that would prevent him from entering the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Officials from 1/ST Racing, a branding arm of the Stronach Group that owns and operates Pimlico, and the Maryland Jockey Club said Sunday they would consult with state authorities and that “any decision regarding the entry of Medina Spirit in the 146th Preakness Stakes will be made after review of the facts.” Officials rescheduled the post position draw for Tuesday afternoon, moving it back a day in light of the uncertainty.
“I got the biggest gut-punch in racing for something that I didn’t do,” Baffert said of the failed drug 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,” Baffert added.
The only horse to be disqualified for medication after winning the Derby is Dancer’s Image in 1968.
Medina Spirit is Baffert’s fifth horse known to have failed a drug test in just over a year. Flanked by his attorney Craig Robertson, Baffert said his barn was told that Medina Spirit was found to have 21 picograms of betamethasone — slightly more than double what the trainer said was the allowable amount — in a postrace sample.
Betamethasone is the same drug that was found in the system of Gamine, another Baffert-trained horse who finished third in the Kentucky Oaks last September. Gamine was eventually disqualified from that finish because of that test and Baffert was fined $ 1,500. Betamethasone is legal under Kentucky racing rules, though it must be cleared 14 days before a horse races.
“I’m not a conspiracy theorist,” Baffert 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.”
Mandaloun, which lost the Derby by a half-length, is not going to the Preakness. If Mandaloun is declared the Kentucky Derby winner, that would mean the Triple Crown pursuit for 2021 would end right there. It is unknown how long Kentucky officials will take to determine whether the results of the Derby should stand or will change.
If Medina Spirit is disqualified, his connections will not receive the $ 1.86 million winner’s share of the Derby purse money. But for bettors, anything that happens next won’t matter — those who cashed in on Medina Spirit still win, those who didn’t still lose and those who backed Mandaloun missed out on a winning ticket that would have returned more than $ 50 on a $ 2 wager.
Baffert was planning to saddle Medina Spirit and Concert Tour in the Preakness, going for a record eighth victory in that race. Except for 2020 when the races were run out of order due to the coronavirus pandemic, Baffert is undefeated with a Derby winner in the Preakness.
Last month, Baffert won an appeals case before the Arkansas Racing Commission after he had been suspended by Oaklawn Park stewards for 15 days for a pair of positive drug tests involving two of his horses that won at the track on May 2, 2020. The horses tested positive for the painkiller lidocaine, which Baffert said they were exposed to inadvertently.
But as Baffert insisted that horse racing can do better preventing doping, he also acknowledged the spotlight.
“I know I’m the most scrutinized trainer and have millions of eyes on me. But you know what? I don’t have a problem with that,” Baffert said. “The last thing I want to do is do something that would jeopardize the greatest 2 minutes in sports.”
Animal Wellness Action executive director Marty Irby said in a statement that racing authorities “should throw the book” at those found guilty of violations.
The failed drug test is just another in a long series of events shadowing the sport — and the Derby, its best known and most prestigious race — in recent years.
Maximum Security crossed the line first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified by Churchill Downs stewards for interference in what was an unprecedented move. Country House, which crossed the line second in that race, is now considered the winner.
In March 2020, Jason Servis — who was Maximum Security’s trainer — was part of a sweeping indictment that involved trainers, veterinarians and pharmacists in a horse doping ring. Baffert faced the doping allegations in Arkansas and Kentucky last year with Gamine, and now this.
“I’m worried about our sport,” Baffert said. “Our sport, we’ve taken a lot of hits as a sport. 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.”
AP Sports Writers Tim Reynolds and Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.
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Medina Spirit gives Baffert record 7th Kentucky Derby win

Baffert and jockey John Velazquez won back-to-back Derbies, having taken last year’s edition with Authentic without spectators in the stands because of COVID-19.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Medina Spirit fought off three challengers in the stretch to win the Kentucky Derby by a half-length on Saturday, making Bob Baffert the winningest trainer in the race’s 147-year history, with seven victories.
Jockey John Velazquez earned his fourth Derby victory on Saturday aboard the dark brown colt that was purchased as a yearling for $ 1,000 and cost current owner Amr Zedan $ 35,000.
Baffert punched his right arm in the air after watching the finish on the video board in the paddock. He was swarmed by his wife, Jill, and youngest son, Bode, with celebratory hugs.
“I’m really, really surprised,” the 68-year-old Hall of Fame trainer said.
It wasn’t false modesty. Baffert had been low-key about his chances after two of his best horses — Life Is Good and Concert Tour — were derailed along the Derby trail.
Medina Spirit isn’t the typical high-priced talent with a fancy pedigree in Baffert’s California barn.
“I cannot believe he won this race,” the trainer said. “That little horse, that was him, all guts. He’s always shown that he’s been an overachiever. His heart is bigger than his body.”
Medina Spirit has never finished worse than second in six career starts and two of his three losses came to Life Is Good, who likely would have been the Derby favorite had he not been injured.
“He doesn’t know how much he cost,” Baffert said, “but what a little racehorse.”
Medina Spirit led all the way and ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.02. Sent off at 12-1 odds, he paid $ 26.20, $ 12 and $ 7.60.
Thundering down the stretch, Medina Spirit was pressed by Mandaloun on his outside. Hot Rod Charlie was coming fast outside of Mandaloun, with Essential Quality giving chase on the far outside.
“I kept waiting for all those horses to pass him,” Baffert said. “When he got to the eighth pole, we said, ‘This guy has got a shot.’”
Mandaloun — one of Louisville trainer Brad Cox’s two entries — finished second and returned $ 23.00 and 13.40. Hot Rod Charlie, partly owned by five former Brown University football players, was another half-length back in third and paid $ 5.20 to show.
Essential Quality, the 5-2 favorite trained by Cox, finished fourth.
Baffert won back-to-back, having tied Ben Jones with his sixth victory last year when the race was run in September without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic. Velazquez became the first jockey to win consecutive Derbies since Victor Espinoza in 2014-15. The 49-year-old rider also completed the Kentucky Oaks-Derby double for the first time since Calvin Borel in 2009, having won the race for fillies on Friday.
The Derby went off on a sun-splashed day with attendance of 51,838 — about 100,000 fewer than usual. Fans were told to wear masks inside the track, but plenty of them did not.
O Besos was fifth, followed by Midnight Bourbon, Keepmeinmind, Helium and Known Agenda. Highly Motivated finished 10th, ahead of Sainthood, Like The King, Bourbonic, Hidden Stash, Brooklyn Strong, Super Stock, Rock Your World (the 9-2 second choice), Dynamic One and Soup and Sandwich.

What does the winner of the Kentucky Derby receive?

In addition to a blanket of hundreds of red roses, the winner for the day will receive the Kentucky Derby Trophy and will be given an honors spot in the Winner’s Circle. This year, the Derby purse has reached $ 3 million. That means the winner will take home over 60% of that amount, which is about $ 1.86 million, according to CNBC.

How many races are there on Derby day?

There will be 14 races at Churchill Downs on May 1. The Kentucky Derby will take place at 6:57 p.m. Eastern/ 3:57 p.m. Pacific.
Here is the full race schedule.

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Medina Spirit wins 147th Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Medina Spirit has won the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby.

This is a breaking news update. More information will be added as it becomes available.

The bourbon is flowing again, flowery hats and humans are on the scene and 19 horses are ready to run the most chaotic race of their lives. After being disrupted by a pandemic, the Kentucky Derby is back with many of its traditions intact.

America’s longest continuously held sporting event returns to its traditional spot on the calendar – the first Saturday in May. The 147th edition comes less than eight months after it was run without spectators last September because of COVID-19, making it the shortest time between Derbies in history.

“I was hoping to enjoy my Derby win a little longer,” joked trainer Bob Baffert, who earned his sixth last year with Authentic.

The eerie silence that settled over Churchill Downs last year when no spectators were allowed is being replaced by attendance of about 45,000 – some 100,000 less than usual. Masks are required. Food and drinks are all-inclusive to lessen long lines and separate payments for every transaction.

With the Derby restored to its usual day, last year’s upside down Triple Crown has been righted. The Preakness follows on May 15 and the Belmont, which kicked off the series a year ago, concludes it on June 5.

Essential Quality is the early 2-1 favorite on Saturday and has the bona fides. The striking gray colt was last year’s 2-year-old champion. He comes in undefeated in five career starts. The last unbeaten colt to win the Derby was Justify in 2018, and he went on to sweep the Triple Crown.

Essential Quality is owned and bred by Godolphin Racing, the stable of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum, who is 0-for-11 in his decades-long quest to win America’s greatest race. A victory by Essential Quality would bring extra scrutiny of human rights issues involving the sheikh, who won’t be among the limited fans in attendance.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission received a complaint this week from a group of human rights attorneys and students at the University of Louisville seeking to have Sheikh Mohammed banned from the Derby over alleged human rights abuses. A judge in England ruled that he orchestrated the abductions of two of his adult daughters.

Essential Quality’s jockey, Luis Saez, is seeking his first Derby win after crossing the finish line first aboard Maximum Security in 2019 only to have his colt disqualified.

“Essential Quality is a deserving favorite,” trainer Todd Pletcher said, “but I think it’s a wide-open race.”

Pletcher, a two-time Derby winner, saddles four starters, led by 6-1 shot Known Agenda. His others are listed at double-digit odds: 20-1 Dynamic One, 30-1 Bourbonic and 50-1 Sainthood.

The biggest question for these 3-year-olds is whether they can handle the 1 1/4 miles while getting jostled in a field of 19. King Fury spiked a fever on Friday and trainer Ken McPeek said he would be scratched. As a result, the four horses to the outside of the colt’s No. 16 post will move in one spot in the starting gate. They’ll be running in front of a noisy crowd for the first time since the pandemic forced tracks to close to the public last year.

Besides Essential Quality, the other undefeated horses in the field are 5-1 Rock Your World and 50-1 Helium, both 3-0. Rock Your World won his first two starts on turf before switching to dirt and winning the Santa Anita Derby.

Two-time Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill goes for another with 8-1 shot Hot Rod Charlie, a colt co-owned by his nephew Patrick O’Neill and four of his former Brown University football teammates. “It’s going to be the race of a lifetime for these guys,” Doug O’Neill said.

For all its tradition, this year’s Derby is one of firsts:

  • It’s the first to be run without Lasix. Previously allowed on race day, the anti-bleeding medication has been banned by Churchill Downs and the other Triple Crown tracks.

 

  • Brad Cox attempts to become the first Louisville-born trainer to win. Besides saddling Essential Quality, he has 15-1 shot Mandaloun, whose Juddmonte Farms owner Saudi Prince Khalid bin Abdullah died in January. Cox says a victory would make him “a pretty good ‘Jeopardy!’ question that nobody will answer.”
  • Kendrick Carmouche, aboard Bourbonic, could be the first Black jockey to win in 119 years. The Derby was won by Black riders in 15 of its first 28 editions.
  • Vicki Oliver saddles 50-1 shot Hidden Stash in a bid to become the first female trainer to win. Shelley Riley finished second with Casual Lies in 1992.
  • Baffert, tied with Ben Jones for the most Derby wins at six, goes for a record seventh with Medina Spirit, a 15-1 shot, after his other hopefuls were derailed along the Derby trail. “I’m coming in there quiet, but I need luck,” he said.
  • Mike Smith, aboard 20-1 shot Midnight Bourbon, would be the oldest jockey to win at age 55.

Saturday’s forecast calls for sunshine, low humidity and a high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius).

Post time is 6:57 p.m. EDT.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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