Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Fails Post-Race Drug Test, Trainer Bob Baffert Calls It a 'Gut Punch'
Medina Spirit is facing disqualification if a second drug test comes back positive
Medina Spirit, the horse that won the 2021 Kentucky Derby last weekend at Churchill Downs, has failed a post-race drug test, trainer Bob Baffert announced on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters, Baffert denied that Medina Spirit had ever been treated with betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug that the horse tested positive for, according to ESPN and USA Today, which reported that Baffert said, "Yesterday I got the biggest gut punch in racing for something that I didn't do," adding that the drug test was an "injustice to the horse."
Also on Sunday, Churchill Downs suspended Baffert from entering horses at the track, according to the Associated Press.
A second positive test, called a "split sample," is required before a horse can be disqualified, as the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations state.
If the findings remain true, Medina Spirit will be disqualified and Mandaloun, the runner-up, will be declared the winner, Churchill Downs said in a statement.
"This shouldn't have happened," Baffert said to reporters. "There's a problem somewhere. It didn't come from us."
According to ESPN, the only other horse to be disqualified for a positive drug test after winning the Derby is Dancer's Image in 1968.
Medina Spirit won the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 1, defeating 19 other horses to secure the win. The victory was also historic for Baffert, who broke the record for most Derby wins with seven.
"I'm the luckiest guy in the world," Baffert said after the race, adding, "That little horse has heart … he won today, he doesn't know how much he costs but he was a little race horse today."