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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.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

5 hours ago - World

Taiwan's military scrambles jets after detecting 39 Chinese warplanes

J-20 stealth fighter jets in Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province of China last year. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense force said 39 Chinese warplanes flew into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday.

Why it matters: The largest Chinese air force incursion into the zone since October came a day after the U.S. and Japanese navies conducted a joint exercise in the Philippine Sea.