Bob Baffert: Controversial Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit victim of ‘cancel culture kind of thing’

Bob Baffert Medina Spirit
Bob Baffert, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit.
REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

Famed horse-racing trainer Bob Baffert appeared on Fox News Monday claiming that his horse, Medina Spirit — who won the Kentucky Derby — is a victim of a “cancel culture kind of thing,” after failing a post-race drug test in which elevated levels of betamethasone were found.

“We did not cheat to win the Kentucky Derby,” Baffert said. “With all the noise going out there, we live in a different world. This America is different. It was like a cancel culture kind of thing.”

Betamethasone is an anti-inflammatory steroid that is permitted in horse racing at a certain level. However, double the permitted amount was found in Medina Spirit.

On Sunday, more than a week after Baffert and Medina Spirit’s triumph at the Kentucky Derby — the first jewel of the Triple Crown — Churchill Downs announced that they had suspended Baffert and that he would be barred from entering horses at that track. 

“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,” the statement from Churchill Downs read.

Baffert revealed Monday that Medina Spirit and his team are making their way down to Pimlico Race Course in Maryland to race at the Preakness Stakes, which is the second leg of the Triple Crown. There has been no word on whether or not the horse will be able to compete, but the Preakness delayed its post drawing — which determines the position of the field of horses — back from Monday to Tuesday. 

However, a final ruling on Medina Spirit’s failed drug test won’t come back any time soon; which makes a decision for the Preakness Stakes more of a philosophical call from horse racing’s powers that be.