BREAKING NEWS: Baffert's Derby Champ, Medina Spirit, Tests Positive for Class C Drug, Preakness still on

Breaking News . . . KHC informed trainer Bob Baffert that his horse, KYD147 Champ Medina Spirit, turned in a positive result for a Class C drug in a post-race test. Read the story below . . .
Breaking News . . . KHC informed trainer Bob Baffert that his horse, KYD147 Champ Medina Spirit, turned in a positive result for a Class C drug in a post-race test. Read the story below . . .

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Several major turfwriting outlets have confirmed that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission informed trainer Bob Baffert late on Saturday that his Kentucky Derby-winning 3-yr-old, Medina Spirit, had tested positive for the Class C drug, betamethasone. The HOF conditioner arrived in Louisville after getting some "bad news" in a phone call from longtime assistant, Jimmy Barnes on Friday.

An impromptu "press conference" was held Sunday morning on the backstretch at Churchill Downs. After both Medina Spirit, and his other Preakness hopeful Concert Tour, worked out, Baffert was both shocked and stunned that this was possible. He said he categorically denied giving Medina Spirit this drug, and felt as though he was being unduly targeted. "We will conduct our own internal investigation," the trainer said, "in order to get to the bottom of what is going on." Baffert intimated that this was not good for him, horsepeople, or the sport, and vowed to defend his position.

With his personal attorney, Craig Robertson alongside, he said that they must go through the process and follow the rules laid down by the KHC and the stewards at Churchill Downs.

As for the Preakness, at this point, there will be no changes concerning Medina Spirit in that race, as both his entries are due to ship out later today, and arrive in Baltimore during the early hours of Monday morning. Baffert exhibited a mix of emotions, and specifically reminded reporters that though Gamine tested positive for the same substance last year in Arkansas, that was a different situation.

"In no way," Baffert argued, "was Medina Spirit given betamethasone; what is going on here is an injustice to this horse." Classified as a Class C drug, betamethasone is used as an anti-inflammatory medication. Medina Spirit tested positive for 21 picograms of the therapeutic, which state rules require at least a 14-day withdrawal time. On race day, any detection is regarded as a violation. In Kentucky, the threshold is 10 picograms, as of a rule-change last August.  

Recently, the California-based trainer was cleared of all wrongdoing by the Arkansas Racing Commission, and his 2 runners (Charlatan and Gamine) were restored as winners of their respective races.

Medina Spirit is owned by Zedan Racing Stables, whose ownership is based in Saudi Arabia, with Amr Zedan, a businessman and philanthropist, as its principal.

More to come as this story develops . . .

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