Medina Spirit’s victory within the Kentucky Derby is in critical jeopardy due to a constructive post-race drug test that prompted Churchill Downs to droop Hall of Fame coach Bob Baffert instantly on Sunday, within the newest scandal to plague the game.
Baffert denied all wrongdoing and promised to be totally clear with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission throughout its investigation. Baffert’s barn obtained phrase on Saturday that Medina Spirit had examined constructive for an extreme quantity of the steroid betamethasone, which is usually used to deal with ache and irritation in horses.
Medina Spirit’s win over Mandaloun within the May 1 Kentucky Derby stands — for now.
“To be clear, if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s leads to the Kentucky Derby will likely be invalidated and Mandaloun will likely be declared the winner,” Churchill Downs officers mentioned in an announcement shortly after Baffert held a rapidly deliberate morning information convention exterior his barn to reply to the most recent allegation.
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The observe mentioned that failure to adjust to the principles and medicine protocols jeopardizes the security of horses and jockeys, the game’s integrity and the Derby’s repute.
“Churchill Downs is not going to tolerate it,” the assertion learn. “Given the seriousness of the alleged offence, Churchill Downs will instantly droop Bob Baffert, the coach of Medina Spirit, from getting into any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack.”
Medina Spirit is predicted to run within the Preakness on May 15, barring some abrupt change in plans or a call from officers at Pimlico or Maryland’s racing fee that will stop him from getting into the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
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“I received the most important gut-punch in racing for one thing that I did not do,” Baffert mentioned of the failed test. “And it is disturbing. It’s an injustice to the horse…. I do not know what is going on on in racing proper now, however there’s one thing not proper. I do not really feel embarrassed. I really feel like I used to be wronged. We’re going to do our personal investigation. We’re going to be clear with the racing fee, like we have at all times been.
“He’s an important horse. He does not deserve this. He ran a gallant race,” he added.
The solely horse to be disqualified for medicine after successful the Derby is Dancer’s Image in 1968.
Medina Spirit is Baffert’s fifth horse identified to have failed a drug test in simply over a yr. Flanked by his lawyer, Craig Robertson, Baffert mentioned his barn was informed that Medina Spirit was discovered to have 21 picograms of betamethasone — barely greater than double what the coach mentioned was the allowable quantity — in a post-race pattern.
‘There’s issues in racing, but it surely’s not Bob Baffert’
Betamethasone is identical drug that was discovered within the system of Gamine, one other Baffert-trained horse who completed third within the Kentucky Oaks final September. Gamine was finally disqualified from that end due to the test and Baffert was fined $1,500 US. Betamethasone is authorized beneath Kentucky racing guidelines, though it should be cleared 14 days earlier than a horse races.
“I’m not a conspiracy theorist,” Baffert mentioned. “I do know everyone is just not out to get me, however there’s undoubtedly one thing mistaken. Why is it taking place to me? You know, there’s issues in racing, but it surely’s not Bob Baffert.”
Mandaloun, which misplaced the Derby by a half-length, is just not going to the Preakness. If Mandaloun is said the Kentucky Derby winner, that will imply the Triple Crown pursuit for 2021 would finish proper there. It is unknown how lengthy Kentucky officers will take to find out whether or not the outcomes of the Derby ought to stand or will change.
Baffert was planning to saddle Medina Spirit and Concert Tour within the Preakness, going for a report eighth victory in that race. Except for 2020, when the races had been run out of order because of the Corona Virus pandemic, Baffert is undefeated with a Derby winner within the Preakness, which holds its publish place draw on Monday.
Last month, Baffert gained an enchantment earlier than the Arkansas Racing Commission after he had been suspended by Oaklawn Park stewards for 15 days for a pair of constructive drug assessments involving two of his horses that gained on the observe on May 2, 2020. The horses examined constructive for the painkiller lidocaine, which Baffert mentioned they had been uncovered to inadvertently.
But as Baffert insisted that horse racing can do a greater job stopping doping, he additionally acknowledged the highlight.
“I do know I’m probably the most scrutinized coach and have thousands and thousands of eyes on me. But you already know what? I haven’t got an issue with that,” Baffert mentioned. “The final thing I wish to do is do one thing that will jeopardize the best two minutes in sports activities.”
The failed drug test is simply one other in an extended sequence of occasions shadowing the game — and the Derby, its finest identified and most prestigious race — in recent times.
Maximum Security crossed the road first within the 2019 Kentucky Derby earlier than being disqualified by Churchill Downs stewards for interference in what was an unprecedented transfer. Country House, which crossed the road second in that race, is now thought-about the winner.
In March 2020, Jason Servis — who was Maximum Security’s coach — was a part of a sweeping indictment that concerned trainers, veterinarians and pharmacists in a horse-doping ring. Baffert confronted the doping allegations in Arkansas and Kentucky final yr, and now this.
“I’m nervous about our sport,” Baffert mentioned. “Our sport, we have taken plenty of hits as a sport. These are fairly critical accusations right here, however we will resolve it and discover out. We know we did not do it.”
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