Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Cleared to Enter Preakness Stakes

by Emily Morgan

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit will enter the upcoming Preakness Stakes race, despite failing a drug test after the Kentucky Derby victory. On Sunday, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert announced that Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug, during a press conference.

To enter the Preakness, there must “full transparency of medical and testing results that will allow for all results to be released to the public,” Maryland Jockey Club and 1/St Racing said. There will also be “rigorous testing and monitoring” of the horse.

On Saturday, fans will see the 146th running of the Preakness, also known as the second jewel of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. Baffert was planning a court injunction if the organization kept the Medina Spirit from Preakness Stakes, per Baffert’s legal team.

On Sunday, Baffert revealed that Medina Spirit tested positive for 21 picograms of betamethasone. He also tested positive for 11 picograms above the legal limit, on the day of the Kentucky Derby. The organization suspended Baffert indefinitely from Churchill Downs due to the failed test. Yet, Baffert said that he didn’t know how the steroid, used to treat a horse’s joints, entered Medina Spirit’s body.

“I got the biggest gut-punch in racing, for something I didn’t do,” Baffert said Sunday. His now-threatened victory with Medina Spirit was his seventh Kentucky Derby win. So far this year, five of Baffert’s horses have failed drug tests.

Baffert Doubles Down on Not Knowing about Medina Spirit’s Steroid Use

Baffert stated that someone treated medina Spirit with an antifungal ointment containing betamethasone. Spirit Medina received the drug one day before to the Kentucky Derby.

“My investigation is continuing. We do not know if this ointment was the cause of the test results,” Baffert said. “I have been told that a finding of a small amount could be consistent with the application of this type of ointment.”

However, members of the Medication and Testing Consortium, say it’s difficult to believe that Baffert and his veterinarian didn’t know that betamethasone was in the medication.

According to the Associated Press, only two other horses in the 147-year history of the Kentucky Derby have been disqualified.

For Baffert, he believes he’s being vilified. “I’m a Hall of Fame trainer. I’ve had such success with all these great horses. You know there’s a lot of jealousy and animosity out there, and I understand that,” he said.”I have my critics. But this is really, you know, when it happens in the most prestigious race in America, the Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert is not stupid.”