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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Medina Spirit may lose Kentucky Derby win; monitor bans Baffert

Medina Spirit’s victory within the Kentucky Derby is in severe jeopardy due to a failed postrace drug check, one which led Churchill Downs to droop Corridor of Fame coach Bob Baffert on Sunday within the newest scandal to plague the game.

Baffert denied all wrongdoing and promised to be totally clear with the Kentucky Horse Racing Fee throughout its investigation. Baffert’s barn acquired phrase Saturday that Medina Spirit had examined optimistic for an extreme quantity of the steroid betamethasone, which is typically used to deal with ache and irritation in horses.

Medina Spirit’s win over Mandaloun within the Derby stands — for now.

“To be clear, if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s ends in the Kentucky Derby shall be invalidated and Mandaloun shall be declared the winner,” Churchill Downs officers stated in an announcement shortly after Baffert held a unexpectedly deliberate morning information convention exterior his barn to announce and reply to the allegations.

The monitor stated failure to adjust to the principles and medicine protocols jeopardises the security of horses and jockeys, the game’s integrity and the Derby’s repute.

“Churchill Downs won’t tolerate it,” the assertion learn. “Given the seriousness of the alleged offense, Churchill Downs will instantly droop Bob Baffert, the coach of Medina Spirit, from coming into any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack.”

Medina Spirit is anticipated to run within the Preakness on Saturday, barring some abrupt change in plans or a call from officers at Pimlico or Maryland’s racing fee that might forestall him from coming into the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Officers from 1/ST Racing, a branding arm of the Stronach Group that owns and operates Pimlico, and the Maryland Jockey Membership stated Sunday they might seek the advice of with state authorities and that “any choice relating to the entry of Medina Spirit within the 146th Preakness Stakes shall be made after evaluation of the information.” Officers rescheduled the put up place draw for Tuesday afternoon, transferring it again a day in gentle of the uncertainty.

“I received the most important gut-punch in racing for one thing that I did not do,” Baffert stated of the failed drug check. “And it is disturbing. It is an injustice to the horse. … I do not know what is going on on in racing proper now, however there’s one thing not proper. I do not really feel embarrassed. I really feel like I used to be wronged. We’ll do our personal investigation. We’ll be clear with the racing fee, like we have at all times been.

“He is an amazing horse. He would not deserve this. He ran a gallant race,” Baffert added.

The one horse to be disqualified for medicine after successful the Derby is Dancer’s Picture in 1968.

Medina Spirit is Baffert’s fifth horse identified to have failed a drug check in simply over a 12 months. Flanked by his legal professional Craig Robertson, Baffert stated his barn was instructed that Medina Spirit was discovered to have 21 picograms of betamethasone — barely greater than double what the coach stated was the allowable quantity — in a postrace pattern.

Betamethasone is similar drug that was discovered within the system of Gamine, one other Baffert-trained horse who completed third within the Kentucky Oaks final September. Gamine was finally disqualified from that end due to that check and Baffert was fined $1,500. Betamethasone is authorized below Kentucky racing guidelines, although it should be cleared 14 days earlier than a horse races.

“I am not a conspiracy theorist,” Baffert stated. “I do know everyone just isn’t out to get me, however there’s positively one thing fallacious. Why is it occurring to me? You recognize, there’s issues in racing, but it surely’s not Bob Baffert.”

Mandaloun, which misplaced the Derby by a half-length, just isn’t going to the Preakness. If Mandaloun is said the Kentucky Derby winner, that might imply the Triple Crown pursuit for 2021 would finish proper there. It’s unknown how lengthy Kentucky officers will take to find out whether or not the outcomes of the Derby ought to stand or will change.

If Medina Spirit is disqualified, his connections won’t obtain the $1.86 million winner’s share of the Derby purse cash. However for bettors, something that occurs subsequent will not matter — those that cashed in on Medina Spirit nonetheless win, those that did not nonetheless lose and those that backed Mandaloun missed out on a successful ticket that might have returned greater than $50 on a $2 wager.

Baffert was planning to saddle Medina Spirit and Live performance Tour within the Preakness, going for a file eighth victory in that race. Aside from 2020 when the races have been run out of order as a result of coronavirus pandemic, Baffert is undefeated with a Derby winner within the Preakness.

Final month, Baffert gained an appeals case earlier than the Arkansas Racing Fee after he had been suspended by Oaklawn Park stewards for 15 days for a pair of optimistic drug assessments involving two of his horses that gained on the monitor on Might 2, 2020. The horses examined optimistic for the painkiller lidocaine, which Baffert stated they have been uncovered to inadvertently.

However as Baffert insisted that horse racing can do higher stopping doping, he additionally acknowledged the highlight.

“I do know I am essentially the most scrutinised coach and have hundreds of thousands of eyes on me. However you recognize what? I haven’t got an issue with that,” Baffert stated. “The very last thing I wish to do is do one thing that might jeopardise the best 2 minutes in sports activities.”

Animal Wellness Motion government director Marty Irby stated in an announcement that racing authorities “ought to throw the ebook” at these discovered responsible of violations.

The failed drug check is simply one other in a protracted sequence of occasions shadowing the game — and the Derby, its finest identified and most prestigious race — lately.

Most Safety crossed the road first within the 2019 Kentucky Derby earlier than being disqualified by Churchill Downs stewards for interference in what was an unprecedented transfer. Nation Home, which crossed the road second in that race, is now thought of the winner.

In March 2020, Jason Servis — who was Most Safety’s coach — was a part of a sweeping indictment that concerned trainers, veterinarians and pharmacists in a horse doping ring. Baffert confronted the doping allegations in Arkansas and Kentucky final 12 months with Gamine, and now this.

“I am apprehensive about our sport,” Baffert stated. “Our sport, we have taken numerous hits as a sport. These are fairly severe accusations right here, however we’ll resolve it and discover out. We all know we did not do it.”

By GARY B. GRAVES AP Sports activities Author

AP Sports activities Writers Tim Reynolds and Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.

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