Kentucky Derby Trainer Bob Baffert Suspended After Winning Horse Medina Spirit Fails Drug Test

The validity of horse Medina Spirit and trainer Bob Baffert's victory at the 2021 Kentucky Derby depends on the results of a second drug test

Medina Spirit Kentucky Derby
Medina Spirit. Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has suspended trainer Bob Baffert, after his winning horse at the Kentucky Derby failed a post-race drug test.

Baffert and any individual employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables are temporarily prohibited from entering horses and occupying stalls at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack, as the NYRA awaits the results of a required second test, known as a split sample.

"In order to maintain a successful thoroughbred racing industry in New York, NYRA must protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants," said NYRA President and CEO Dave O'Rourke in a statement. "That responsibility demands the action taken today in the best interests of thoroughbred racing."

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Baffert has also been suspended from Churchill Downs, where his horse Medina Spirit came in first place at the 2021 Kentucky Derby on May 1. The decision came last Sunday, as he announced that his horse Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug.

"Yesterday I got the biggest gut punch in racing for something that I didn't do," he told reporters at the time. "This shouldn't have happened. There's a problem somewhere. It didn't come from us."

This isn't the first time that a horse trained by Baffert has failed a drug test, according to the NYRA. He's recently faced penalties from thoroughbred racing regulators in Kentucky, California and Arkansas.

A source close to Baffert defends the trainer, telling PEOPLE in a statement: "When 38 different racetracks will not agree on common standards and have varying beliefs of what is and what is not appropriate makes it is easy to understand why the past two attempts of a Commissioner bringing commonality failed in horse racing. Baffert has been a vocal supporter of having one standard for all tracks. Who would ever believe a horse's a-- would make Baffert look like a horse's a--?"

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is required to await the results of the split sample drug test before issuing a decision on the validity of Medina Spirit's win. If the horse is disqualified, the runner-up Mandaloun will be declared the winner and receive the first place share of the purse, which comes out to $1.86 million.

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If Medina Spirits' victory holds up, it will be Baffert's record-breaking seventh Derby win.

"I'm the luckiest guy in the world," he said after the race. "That little horse has heart … he won today, he doesn't know how much he costs but he was a little race horse today."

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