Derby Winner Medina Spirit Fails 2nd Drug Test

Betamethasone was found at prohibited level
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2021 10:06 AM CDT
It's Official: Derby Winner Medina Spirit Failed Drug Test
John Velazquez riding Medina Spirit, right, leads Florent Geroux on Mandaloun, Flavien Prat riding Hot Rod Charlie, and Luis Saez on Essential Quality to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., in this May 1, 2021, file photo.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Medina Spirit could go down in history as the second horse to be disqualified from the Kentucky Derby for a failed drug test. Two, in this case. A second sample tested at the request of trainer Bob Baffert has come back positive, says Clark Brewster, a lawyer for Medina Spirit owner Amr Zedan. The steroid betamethasone was found at a prohibited level, though the New York Times shares a text from Brewster that notes the UC Davis lab tested for no other compounds that "could prove the trace positive came from an inadvertent and materially inconsequential contamination sourced from a topical ointment used to treat Medina Spirit for a skin lesion on his hip."

As for that level, the AP reports 25 picograms of the steroid were detected; in the first sample, 21 picograms were found. Even a trace amount on race day isn't allowed. A lawyer for Baffert says further testing is being done in hopes of confirming the source of the drug was an ointment used to treat a skin infection, rather than an injection to help with swelling. "At the end of the day, we anticipate this case to be about the treatment of Medina Spirit's skin rash with Otomax," he said. "We will have nothing further to say until the additional testing is complete." A rep for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission said it would have nothing to say until the investigation is complete. (More Kentucky Derby stories.)

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