LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Medina Spirit trainer Bob Baffert confirmed that the Kentucky Derby-winning horse was treated with Otomax, an ointment that contains betamethasone.
Medina Spirit was found to have 21 picograms of betamethasone, which is sometimes used to treat pain and inflammation in horses. It was the same drug found in Baffert-trained filly Gamine, who finished third in last fall’s Kentucky Oaks before being disqualified following a test. Baffert was fined $1,500.
Baffert is appealing the positive test and part of the original sample will be re-tested. If the violation is upheld, Medina Spirit could be disqualified from its Kentucky Derby win and runner-up Mandaloun elevated to the winner.
The trainer has denied all wrongdoing and promised full transparency with Kentucky racing officials. Churchill Downs nonetheless suspended Baffert from entering horses at the track. The Maryland Jockey Club and Pimlico officials say they will decide on Medina Spirit’s status in the Triple Crown’s middle jewel after reviewing the facts.
Medina Spirit's owner Amr F. Zedan put his full support behind Baffert in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
Baffert’s lawyer, W. Craig Robertson III, confirmed to The Associated Press he is prepared to file for a temporary restraining order to keep Preakness officials from denying Medina Spirit entry into the race, if they decide to do so.
Those events will unfold with Baffert back in California instead of at the race where he will go for a record eighth victory.
Baffert's Lexington-based attorney, Craig Robertson, said people should reserve judgment until more information is available.
The positive post-race test result is not official until split-testing results are returned, he said, which could take weeks.
"There is a lot of documentation that needs to be gathered," he said, "a lot
of witnesses who need to be interviewed and what you know today
is going to be significantly less than what you know next week and next month."
But Horse Racing expert and LEX 18 contributor, Todd Schrupp, said if the drug is confirmed to have been in Medina Spirit's system, it's ultimately Bob Baffert's responsibility.
"The most important thing about this case and the positive with Medina Spirit is the ultimate insurer rule in Kentucky and what that means is, it doesn't matter who has come into contact with your horse, how things have happened," he said. "The person who is ultimately responsible for that horse and what happens is the trainer. In that case it is Bob Baffert."