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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.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
May 10, 2021 - Sports

What the Kentucky Derby doping scandal means for horse racing

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Medina Spirit, the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner, failed a drug test after the race, putting his victory — and horse racing's integrity — in jeopardy.

Why it matters: Medina Spirit is Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's fifth horse known to have failed a drug test in just over a year.

24 mins ago - World

Taliban: Executions and strict punishments will return

Taliban fighters in Kabul. Photo: Oliver Weiken/picture alliance via Getty Images

Strict punishments such as hand amputations and executions will return in Afghanistan, one of the Taliban's founders said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Despite attempting to project a new image, the Taliban remain committed to a hard-line, conservative ideology, including harsh ruling tactics.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Investors pour millions into immersive, interactive art experiences

Photo Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images

How much would you pay for "a sleek, if pleasantly confusing, package of moods" or "a confusing tangle of disjointed installations" or even "the total erosion of meaning itself"? The answer, according to the current market-clearing price, seems to be about $35.

Why it matters: Investors are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into ticketed experiences — immersive, interactive museum-like spaces that don't have the d0-not-touch stuffiness of traditional museums.