May 11, 2021 - Sports

Baffert: Ointment could have caused Medina Spirit's positive drug test

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Medina Spirit, the horse whose Kentucky Derby win is in jeopardy after he failed a drug test, was being treated with an anti-fungal ointment for dermatitis that contained the steroid found in the test, trainer Bob Baffert acknowledged Tuesday.

The big picture: Baffert noted that it's not yet definitively known whether the ointment is behind the positive drug test but said that it "could explain the results" and that the investigation is ongoing.

  • "While we do not know definitively that this was the source of the alleged 21 picograms [of betamethasone] found in Medina Spirit's post-race blood sample, and our investigation is continuing, I have been told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results," Baffert said in a statement.

The state of play: Medina Spirit's test results earlier this week showed more than the permitted amount of betamethasone, a steroid used to reduce pain and swelling.

  • Baffert, a Hall of Fame trainer, has had five horses fail drug tests in just over a year.

What to watch: Churchill Downs has announced that the horse will be disqualified as the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner if a second test comes back positive. Those results aren't expected for weeks, per the Courier Journal.

  • Baffert's lawyer said separately on Tuesday that an agreement has been reached to allow Medina Spirit to run in Saturday's Preakness in Baltimore, Maryland, according to the Courier Journal. Baffert has said he will not attend the race.
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