Medina Spirit is stripped of Kentucky Derby victory, Bob Baffert suspended

Medina Spirit is no lengthier the winner of last year’s Kentucky Derby. At minimum for now.

On Monday, the Kentucky Horse Racing Fee, a 7 days just after it held a hearing, announced it was stripping the considering that-deceased colt of his victory just after he examined optimistic for a authorized drug banned for use on race working day. It’s only the 3rd time a winner has been disqualified in the 146-yr historical past of the world’s most famous horse race.

With the disqualification, Mandaloun turns into the winner. Nonetheless, there will be no refunds or payouts for anybody who guess on the horse. As for bettors, a course-motion accommodate was filed and is functioning its way ahead in the courts.

In addition, trainer Bob Baffert was suspended 90 days and fined $7,500. The suspension is scheduled to start off March 8 and stop June 5, but that will be place on keep as Baffert’s attorneys program to attraction the choice. If the suspension have been to stand, it would be honored by all states, not just Kentucky. In addition, the winner’s purse of $1.86 million will have to be returned if the attractiveness fails.

“We are dissatisfied by the commission’s ruling, but not astonished,” mentioned Clark Brewster, Baffert’s Tulsa, Okla.-based attorney. “This ruling signifies an egregious departure from both equally the points and the legislation, but the several community statements by KHRC officers about the final numerous months have made beautifully distinct that Bob Baffert’s fate was determined just before we ever sat down for a hearing. … We will charm, and we will prevail when the info and regulations are presented to detached, neutral decisionmakers.”

Craig Robertson, Baffert’s Louisville-primarily based legal professional, expressed equivalent emotions.

“I am very upset in the ruling,” Robertson stated. “It runs contrary to the scientifically established info in this case and the procedures of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.”

Churchill Downs wasted no time in supporting the selection by the KHRC.

“Churchill Downs acknowledges Mandaloun as the winner of the 147th managing of the Kentucky Derby and extends our congratulations to proprietor/breeder Juddmonte, trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux,” the track mentioned in a statement.

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The final time a horse was disqualified for a prohibited compound was 1968 when Dancer’s Graphic was removed as the winner and Ahead Move was presented the victory. It took extra than 4 many years to settle the scenario. The only other disqualification was in 2019, when Most Security was disqualified since of interference.

This strange tale of horse racing intrigue commenced one week right after Medina Spirit was formally declared the winner of the Derby. It has taken nearly 10 months to get to the first move in clarifying this issue. Baffert held a hastily termed information conference outside the house his barn at Churchill Downs to say he was educated that Medina Spirit experienced tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory. It is not a effectiveness-boosting drug in the regular perception, other than if a horse has no well being problems, it could possibly run improved.

Baffert claimed he had no idea how the treatment received into Medina Spirit and then went on a media marketing campaign proclaiming his innocence. But two times afterwards, he acknowledged he had figured out the horse experienced been treated with an ointment, which contained betamethasone, for a rash on his hind quarters.

Baffert’s attorneys used the defense that the rule that was violated only addresses betamethasone that is injected intra-articularly, not by ointment. More checks have been carried out by Baffert’s attorneys that confirmed the existence of a secondary substance that is identified only in the ointment. The KHRC did not purchase that argument.

Bob Baffert attends the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar in November.

(Jae C. Hong / Related Press)

The Hall of Fame coach has been banned from racing at the signature Louisville monitor and other tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc. for two yrs. Churchill Downs Inc. cited five treatment positives in about a year’s time by horses trained by Baffert. Two of the positives, in Arkansas, were owing to contamination that afflicted additional than just Baffert‘s horses and have been seemingly out of his handle.

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Baffert is not only banned from Churchill Downs, but horses skilled by him are ineligible to receive Kentucky Derby qualifying points. He has constructed his business enterprise all around remaining equipped to get horses to the Kentucky Derby, a race he has won 7 instances, now dropped to six.

Now, with minor opportunity that Baffert can overturn the Churchill final decision in time for the May well 7 race, proprietors will have to pick amongst loyalty to him or shifting their horse to yet another trainer. The 1st win-and-you-are-in race was this earlier weekend at Honest Grounds in New Orleans. For right here on out, all big 3-calendar year-outdated races will qualify horses for the Kentucky Derby.

After last year’s Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit was allowed to operate in the Preakness less than demanding tests protocols and finished 3rd. He was then presented a split and returned to win the Shared Perception Stakes at Del Mar prior to beating more mature horses in the Great Yet again at Santa Anita. His previous race turned out to be the Breeders’ Cup Common, the place he concluded 2nd to Knicks’ Go, who was selected horse of the 12 months.

But on Dec. 6, soon after finishing a exercise at Santa Anita, the horse collapsed and died on the keep track of in what was assumed to be a coronary heart attack. A necropsy was executed and the cause of demise could not be definitively established. There were being signs that it was cardiac linked, but other causes could not be dominated out. There were being no medications, other than these beforehand reported by his veterinarian, uncovered in his procedure.

It’s unclear if Medina Spirit has a likelihood to be returned as winner of the Kentucky Derby. Not like racing’s purpose of settling items on the monitor, this just one will be resolved by attorneys and judges, and a whole lot of them.

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