Medina Spirit #8, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, (R) crosses the finish line to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of Mandaloun #7, ridden by Florent Geroux, and Hot Rod Charlie #9 ridden by Flavien Prat ,at Churchill Downs on May 01, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jamie Squire | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s victory will be invalidated if it is upheld that the champion horse failed a drug test, Churchill Downs said Sunday.
Medina Spirit’s trainer Bob Baffert will be immediately suspended from entering any horses in races at Churchill Downs’ track “given the seriousness of the alleged offense,” said the statement from the company that runs the Derby.
“Failure to comply with the rules and medication protocols jeopardizes the safety of the horses and jockeys, the integrity of our sport and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby and all who participate. Churchill Downs will not tolerate it,” the press release said.
If the finding is upheld, runner-up Mandaloun will be declared the winner of the race, Churchill Downs said.
Baffert on Sunday morning denied any wrongdoing. He revealed at a news conference that Medina Spirit in a post-race test was found to have 21 picograms of the steroid betamethasone, twice the legal threshold, in its system.
“I got the biggest gut-punch in racing, for something I didn’t do,” Baffert said.
Just two other horses in the 147-year history of the Kentucky Derby have been disqualified, according to the Associated Press.
“It is our understanding that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample indicated a violation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s equine medication protocols,” Churchill Downs’ press release said.
“The connections of Medina Spirit have the right to request a test of a split sample and we understand they intend to do so,” the company said.
“We will await the conclusion of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commissions’ investigation before taking further steps.”
With reporting from the Associated Press.