Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit relaxes in the Stakes barn after arriving at Pimlico Race Course Monday, May 10, 2021. (Lloyd Fox/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Kentucky Derby Winner Fails Drug Test

The winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit tested positive.

Sunday morning, Bob Baffert’s horse tested positive for twenty-one picograms of betamethasone, which is eleven picograms above the legal limit in Kentucky horse racing.

Baffert, Medina Spirits’ trainer, describes the measurement of picograms.

What is Betamethasone?

Betamethasone is a man-made steroid that resembles cortisol, a natural hormone produced by the adrenal gland. This drug is used to relieve discomfort for horses when administered to their joints.

The therapeutic is legal to use. However, a new standard was passed that any detectable amount of betamethasone in race testing is a violation and must be cleared fourteen days before a horse races. Journalist T.J. Holmes discusses how Baffert is no stranger to controversy over this topic.

What’s in store for Bob Baffert?

After this win for Medina Spirit, this marks a total of seven victories in the sport’s premier race. That milestone win is now clearly in jeopardy.

Overall, Baffert has perfected the act of “shock” when finding out one of his horse tested positive for a substance. The Hall of Fame trainer is appealing the positive drug test on Medina Spirit and is looking into further investigation and testing.

This is Baffert’s fifth horse to fail a test in just over a year. Consequently, Baffert is suspended from the Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky for good.

Looking Ahead

Medina Spirit is headed to Baltimore for the Preakness, unlike the Churchill Downs, the Maryland Jockey Club who is in charge of the Preakness said they will be reviewing the relevant facts before making any major decisions regarding the horse’s entry in the Preakness Stakes.

The Colt cannot be denied it’s victory of the 2021 Kentucky Derby until a second blood test is done to confirm it was positive. The results of a second drug test can take days or weeks to come back.

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