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Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit fails drug check, coach says

Bob Baffert’s frustration was obvious as he tried to digest the most recent optimistic drug check involving one among his prized thoroughbreds.

This one includes Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, Baffert’s fifth horse to fail a drug check in a yr. The Corridor of Famer vowed to combat the outcomes “tooth and nail” within the newest doping scandal for horse racing and arguably the game’s premier coach.

Flanked by his lawyer, Craig Robertson, in a morning information convention at Churchill Downs on Sunday, Baffert stated his barn was informed that Medina Spirit was discovered to have 21 picograms of the steroid betamethasone — double the authorized threshold in Kentucky racing — in a post-race pattern.

“I obtained the most important gut-punch in racing, for one thing I did not do,” he stated.

Betamethasone is similar drug that was discovered within the system of Gamine, one other Baffert-trained horse who completed third within the Kentucky Oaks final September.

Baffert denied any wrongdoing and stated he didn’t know the way Medina Spirit may have examined optimistic. He stated the horse has by no means been handled with betamethasone and known as it “an entire injustice.”

“I do not really feel embarrassed, I really feel like I used to be wronged,” Baffert stated, including that he was going to be clear with the Kentucky Horse Racing Fee.

“We’ll present them every thing. One factor about it in California, every thing is documented on daily basis what the horse will get. This horse was by no means handled with that. He is a terrific horse, he would not deserve this. He ran a gallant race.”

Baffert stated his camp obtained phrase of the optimistic check from Kentucky officers on Saturday. He stated Medina Spirit has not been formally disqualified from the Kentucky Derby, though that also may occur after different checks and processes are accomplished.

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“This should not have occurred,” Baffert stated. “There’s an issue someplace. It did not come from us.”

Medina Spirit gained the Kentucky Derby on Could 1 by a half-length over Mandaloun, giving Baffert his record-setting seventh victory within the race that begins the Triple Crown season. Medina Spirit remains to be anticipated to race within the Preakness, the Triple Crown’s second jewel, on Could 15.

The colt galloped Sunday at Churchill Downs and is anticipated to depart the observe with stablemate Live performance Tour and head to Baltimore on Monday.

Baffert was planning to saddle Medina Spirit and Live performance Tour within the Preakness, going for a document eighth victory within the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Apart from 2020, when the races had been run out of order because of the coronavirus pandemic, Baffert is undefeated with a Derby winner within the Preakness, which holds its put up place draw on Monday.

Final month, Baffert gained an enchantment earlier than the Arkansas Racing Fee, which had suspended him for 15 days for a pair of optimistic drug checks involving two of his horses that gained at Oaklawn Park on Could 2, 2020. The horses examined optimistic for lidocaine, a painkiller, which Baffert stated they had been uncovered to inadvertently.

“There’s issues in racing,” Baffert stated. “However it’s not Bob Baffert.”

The New York Occasions stated in November 2020 that Baffert-trained horses have failed at the least 29 drug checks in his four-decade profession.

“I am nervous about our sport,” Baffert stated. “Our sport, we have taken loads of hits as a sport. These are fairly critical accusations right here, however we’ll resolve it and discover out. We all know we did not do it.”

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