Trainer Bob Baffert, who won his seventh Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit earlier this month, announced on Sunday that the dark bay colt had failed a drug test. Baffert reported that a post-race sample supplied by Medina Spirit tested positive for 21 picograms of the anti-inflammatory medication betamethasone, which is over Kentucky racing’s legal limit.
On May 1, Medina Spirit, led by jockey John Velazquez, won the 19-horse Kentucky Derby by a half-length.
Kentucky authorities told Baffert’s camp of the news on Saturday, but the 68-year-old denied feeding the horse illegal drugs and called the positive result “the biggest gut punch in racing”
“I was totally shocked when I heard this news,” Baffert said at a press conference. “I’m still trying to take it all in.” I am the most closely scrutinised mentor. The last thing I want to do is jeopardise the best sport on the planet.
“This shouldn’t have happened. There’s a problem somewhere. It didn’t come from us. It’s such an injustice to the horse. I don’t feel embarrassed, I feel like I was wronged.”
Last month, Baffert successfully appealed against a 15-day suspension given to him by the Arkansas Racing Commission after two of his horses had tested positive for a banned substance.
Baffert said Medina Spirit had not yet been officially disqualified from the Derby and that he would launch his own investigation.
“I’m going to fight it,” he added. “There are problems in racing, but it’s not Bob Baffert. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but why is it happening to me?”
In 2015, Baffert-trained American Pharoah became the first horse since 1978 to win U.S. thoroughbred racing’s coveted Triple Crown. Baffert celebrated another Triple Crown in 2018 with Justify.