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Medina Spirit, winner of Kentucky Derby fails drug test

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Medina Spirit, the winning horse of last week’s Kentucky Derby has failed a post race dope test, testing positive for an illegal substance.

The Kentucky Derby, which is hosted on the first Saturday of May each year at the Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, sees each participating Thoroughbred horses undergoing a drug test following the race, and the results come in a week after.

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This year, the winner of the derby Medina Spirit was found to have 21 picograms of the steroid betamethasone in its post-race blood test sample, which is double the legal threshold in Kentucky horse racing.

The news of the failed drug test was made public by Bob Baffert, trainer of Medina Spirit who revealed that Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has informed assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes about the test results.

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The scenario is a repetition of last year when Gamine, another one of Baffert’s horses, failed a drug test after winning Kentucky Oaks, a  Grade I stakes race held on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby.

Biggest gut-punch in racing: Baffert words in on Medina Spirit’s dope test result

Medina Spirit
Bob Baffert is not accepting the test results of Medina Spirit, his Thoroughbred that won the Kentucky Derby this year.

In the past, a number of Baffert’s horses have had issues with drug tests. Back in 2018, Triple Crown winning racehorse Justify had failed a test about a month before the Kentucky Derby, testing positive for scopolamine, a banned substance that can enhance racing performance.

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Alongside Justify’s case, which was dropped after claims that the horse had consumed contaminated food, two more of Baffert’s horses also returned positive test results last year. Horses Charlatan and Nadal, both of whom were race winners, was found to have lidocaine in their test samples.

Baffert, however, states that Medina Spirit was not issued any drug pre-race, and also believes that there is a conspiracy against himself for only his horses testing positive every year, despite claiming to be transparent with the authorities.

“I got the biggest gut-punch in racing, for something I didn’t do,” Baffert spoke to The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell, “I don’t know what’s going on in racing right now, but there’s something right now It just seems odd, why am I the only trainer with these positives?”

“This shouldn’t have happened,” the trainer went on, “there’s a problem somewhere. It didn’t come from us. He (Medina Spirit) ran a gallant race.” 

Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby by a half-length over second place finishing Mandaloun, which earned Baffert his record seventh victory in the first derby of the Triple Crown.

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Saikat Banerjee
Saikat Banerjee
A wordsmith who indulges in the world of combat sports, Saikat is an MMA, boxing, and arm wrestling content writer at The MMA India Show and The Sports Room. Apart from combat sports, he also engages in Indian sports content at The Sports India Show. Currently pursuing an MBA from Jadavpur University, Saikat's other interests lie in motorcycling, working out, and travelling.
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