Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in the past couple of years has had horses test positive in the Santa Anta Derby, Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Oaks, three of the biggest races in the sport.
Now apparently Baffert has completed the Grand Slam, announcing on Sunday morning that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a trace amount of betamethasone, a Class C drug that is allowed as a therapeutic drug but cannot be in the horse’s system on race day.
As with his other positives, Baffert again has said he is not to blame.
“Yesterday I got the biggest gut punch in racing for something that I didn’t do,” Baffert said. “It’s disturbing. It’s an injustice to the horse. I don’t know what’s going on in racing right now, but there’s something not right. I don’t feel embarrassed, I feel like I was wronged.”
“I am not a conspiracy theorist,” Baffert added. “I know everybody is not out to get me, but there is definitely something wrong. Why is it happening to me? There’s problems in racing, but it’s not Bob Baffert.”
No Bob, you ARE the problem with racing. Just look at the headlines of the USA Today, Washington Post and New York Times today. They are saying that for just the second time in the history of the Run for the Roses that the winner likely is going to get disqualified for a drug positive.
So, yeah you are the damn problem.
Yet somehow, the show must go on and you plan on sending Medina Spirit and Concert Tour to Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes.
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Baffert Press Conference
The Maryland Jockey Club needs to step up and tell you to stay your ass home. You have done more damage to the integrity to the sport in your training career than anyone, including Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis, who are currently under indictment in a drug doping scheme.
The general public does not know the difference between an overage of a therapeutic drug and something much more nefarious.
We still remember that you were exonerated by the California Horse Racing Board when seven horses in your care died mysteriously during a 16-month timeframe starting in 2011. Some still scratch their heads over that investigation.
Last November you announced you would, “raise the bar and set the standard for equine safety and rule compliance.” You added you planned on “personally increasing my oversight and commitment to running a tight ship and being careful that protective measures are in place.”
You failed miserably.
I can’t imagine seeing a bigger black eye in the sport than when it was discovered Justify had a drug overage after his Santa Anita Derby win in 2018 which was shrugged off by the California Horse Racing Board or Gamine’s positive in the 2020 Kentucky Oaks, but you have done it.
In the only race of the year people outside of the industry really care about, you screwed it up. We woke up on a Sunday morning a week away from the second jewel of the Triple Crown to find out the Derby winner tested positive and you asking, “Why is it happening to me?”
The only question you should be asking yourself now is how to gracefully retire from the sport.
Bob Baffert Statement
Yesterday I was informed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission that MEDINA SPIRIT allegedly tested positive for 21 picograms of betamethasone. I want to be clear on three points. First, I have seen it reported that betamethasone is a “banned” substance. This is not true. Betamethasone is an allowable, therapeutic medication. Second, and more importantly, at no point in time has anyone in my barn or any of my veterinarians ever administered betamethasone to MEDINA SPIRT. I do not know how betamethasone could have possibly gotten into MEDINA SPRIT, but I do know it did not come from me.
Therefore, I intend to thoroughly and transparently investigate the matter to determine how this could have happened. We will have the split sample analyzed and DNA testing performed. That will be the first step in the process. Lastly, as I have stated in the past: there is a broader issue in horse racing concerning the regulation of allowable medications at 21 picograms – which is a trillionth of a gram – that the industry must address. I would ask that everyone reserve judgment until all facts and circumstances are thoroughly investigated and discovered.
Churchill Downs’ Statement in Response to Medina Spirit’s Post-Race Test Result Allegations
LOUISVILLE, KY. (Sunday, May 9, 2021) – 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. The connections of Medina Spirit have the right to request a test of a split sample and we understand they intend to do so. To be clear, if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner.
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. Given the seriousness of the alleged offense, Churchill Downs will immediately suspend Bob Baffert, the trainer of Medina Spirit, from entering any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack. We will await the conclusion of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commissions’ investigation before taking further steps.
Statement from Maryland Jockey Club
“Integrity in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing is the ultimate priority for 1/ST RACING and the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC). 1/ST RACING has been an industry leader instituting processes and protocols that have led to nationwide medication reform and increased accountability. We are committed to achieving the highest level of horse care and safety standards, and we have a proven track record of pushing those standards forward.
“1/ST RACING and MJC intend to review the relevant facts and information relating to the reported medication positive as a result of the post-race blood sample testing completed by Churchill Downs following the 147th Kentucky Derby involving Medina Spirit trained by Bob Baffert. We are consulting with the Maryland Racing Commission and any decision regarding the entry of Medina Spirit in the 146thPreakness Stakes will be made after review of the facts.”