Medina Spirit, the horse that won last month’s Kentucky Derby, failed his post-race drug test, The New York Times reports. Now officials are waiting for pre-race samples from the horse to be tested in order to determine whether to disqualify him. The steed’s trainer, Bob Baffert, has been suspended from Churchill Downs, the venue of the Kentucky Derby, for two years, effective immediately. Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said, “Mr. Baffert’s record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby.” Five horses trained by Baffert have tested positive for banned medications in the past 13 months. Baffert has blamed everything from sabotage and urine-soaked hay to “cancel culture” for the horse’s issues.
Amr Zedan, Medina Spirit’s owner, has said the horse was treated with an ointment of betamethasone for a rash; the same drug is banned in the racing world from being used to reduce pain and swelling when injected. If the laboratory determines that the second set of samples test positive, Medina Spirit will most likely be disqualified, which would force Zedan to return the $1.8 million he won for the first-place prize. If disqualified, the steed would be the second winner in Kentucky Derby history to lose its title; Dancer’s Image, who failed his drug test in 1968, also was stripped. Medina Spirit most recently won third place in the 2021 Preakness Stakes.