BREAKING NEWS: Baffert's Medina Spirit, Disqualified from the 147th Kentucky Derby

It's official, the KHRC has disqualified Bob Baffert's winning colt, the now deceased Medina Spirit from the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby. Story below ...
It's official, the KHRC has disqualified Bob Baffert's winning colt, the now deceased Medina Spirit from the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby. Story below ...

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It's official ... the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, via its Stewards, have disqualified trainer Bob Baffert's Medina Spirit from the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby. Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox and his colt, Mandaloun, are now vaulted into the spot of champion. After some-10 months of speculation, waiting, and with a litany of finger-pointing over the validity of laboratories involved, the ruling stated the following ... 

“After a formal hearing before the Board of Stewards, Robert A. Baffert is hereby suspended 90 days, March 8, 2022 through June 5, 2022 (inclusive) and fined seven thousand five hundred ($7,500) dollars.” It went on to explain that, “Medina Spirit is disqualified and all purse money forfeited. Pari-mutuel wagering is not affected by this ruling.”

The letter comes after a recent hearing with Baffert and his attorneys, in which the HOF conditioner tried to defend his position once again, that "positive test" was due to a topical medication called Otomax. That cream, and not an injection, was considered by Baffert to be legal to apply before race days. Medina Spirit supposedly had a rash, and the betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory contained in the ointment, was meant to treat that irritation. 

Shortly after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's statement, Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI), the proprietor of the Kentucky Derby, released this: "Today Churchill Downs recognizes Mandaloun as the winner of the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby and extends our congratulations to owner/breeder Juddmonte, trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux. Winning the Kentucky Derby is one of the most exciting achievements in sports and we look forward to celebrating Mandaloun on a future date in a way that is fitting of this rare distinction."

Last year, CDI banned the California-based conditioner for 2 years, an unprecedented action for a trainer of Baffert's stature, and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) followed with their own suspension. Baffert has brought his own suit against NYRA, and that result is pending. As for Churchill, they are not allowing Baffert or any of his horses to accrue Derby Points along the 2022 "Trail." As for Amr F. Zedan and his stable, the owner of the colt by Protonico, received a letter from the KHRC informing him that his horse would be disqualified from the Derby. 

During Medina Spirit's remaining racing career, the 3-yr-old was third in the Preakness. Baffert then watched him score in the Shared Belief Stakes and the Grade 1 Awesome Again. The Florida bred ended up second behind Cox's Knicks Go in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar.

When the colt "won" the 147th Derby, Baffert had tied the all-time record for trainer victories with Ben Jones. His prior wins came with victories starting in 1997, and in subsequent years, 1998, 2002, 2015, and in 2018. This is the first "DQ" of a Kentucky Derby Winner for a drug violation since 1968 when Dancer's Image tested positive for an illegal substance. Baffert and his attorneys plan to appeal the ruling by the KHRC.

Sadly, Medina Spirit passed away last December, collapsing after a workout at Santa Anita Park. Initially his death was considered a heart attack. The resulting necropsy was ruled inconclusive. More to come on this story as news becomes available ...

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