The failed drug test of Medina Spirit, the horse that won the Kentucky Derby last month, was confirmed on Wednesday, as first reported by the New York Times.
Trained by seven-time Derby winner, Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit stands to become just the third horse in the race’s 147-year history to be disqualified. In 2019, Maximum Security was disqualified for an on-track incident during the race while Dancer’s Image’s win in 1968 was wiped away because of a drug infraction, as well.
After Medina Spirit won the Run for the Roses, elevated levels of betamethasone were found in his system. Betamethasone is an anti-inflammatory steroid that is permitted in horse racing at a certain level, but Baffert’s horse had double the legal amount.
“We did not cheat to win the Kentucky Derby,” Baffert said shortly after the race. “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.”
While the investigation of Medina Spirit’s failed drug test was carried out, the horse was allowed to compete in the 2021 Preakness Stakes — the second jewel of the Triple Crown — but finished third behind Rombauer and Midnight Bourbon.
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the NYRA banned Baffert from entering any horses in this weekend’s 2021 Belmont Stakes.
With Medina Spirit’s disqualification, second-place Mandaloun is expected to be named the winner of the Kentucky Derby.