Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit fails drug test, Bob Baffert hit with suspension

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Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was suspended by Churchill Downs after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test, and if the results are upheld, there’s a good chance that it will invalidate the victory.

Medina Spirit is Baffert’s fifth horse to fail a drug test in a year. The only horse to be disqualified for medication after winning the Kentucky Derby is Dancer’s Image in 1968.

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Jockey John Velazquez, left, watches as trainer Bob Baffert holds up the winner’s trophy after they victory with Medina Spirit in the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

“This shouldn’t have happened,” Baffert said. “There’s a problem somewhere. It didn’t come from us.”

Baffert added that he didn’t know how Medina Spirit could have tested positive. He called it “a complete injustice” because the horse has never been treated with betamethasone.

“I don’t feel embarrassed, I feel like I was wronged,” said Baffert, adding that he was going to be fully cooperative with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

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“We’re going to show them everything. One thing about it in California, everything is documented every day what the horse gets. This horse was never treated with that. He’s a great horse; he doesn’t deserve this. He ran a gallant race.”

Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby on May 1 by a half-length over Mandaloun, giving Baffert his record-setting seventh victory in the race that starts the Triple Crown season. Medina Spirit is still expected to race in the Preakness, the Triple Crown’s second jewel, on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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