Controversial Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit collapsed and died following a workout Monday at Santa Anita in California, according to multiple reports.
The three-year-old colt had completed five furlongs in what was just his second workout since a second-place finish at the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November when he suffered a heart attack.
“My entire barn is devastated by this news,” his trainer Bob Baffert said. “Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we are deeply mourning his loss.
“I will always cherish the proud and personal memories of Medina Spirit and his tremendous spirit.”
In a statement released by Santa Anita Park, Medina Spirit’s blood, hair, and urine samples were taken from Medina Spirit and sent to the California Racing Board before the horse undergoes a full necropsy in an attempt to determine the cause of death.
Entering 2021, Medina Spirit was considered a favorite to win horse racing’s Triple Crown and delivered with a victory at the Kentucky Derby on May 1 — which was Baffert’s seventh-career victory at the “Run for the Roses”. However, Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, which is an illegal substance.
Following the positive test, Baffert was suspended by Churchill Downs and banned from entering horses at the next two Kentucky Derbies (2022 and 2023). A similar punishment followed from the New York Racing Association (NYRA), barring Baffert from entering horses at Belmont Park, Saratoga, or Aqueduct.
In 10 career starts, Medina Spirit posted five wins while racking up $3.5 million worth of winnings.