BALTIMORE (LEX 18) — Medina Spirit and Concert Tour, both trained by Bob Baffert, will be allowed to enter the 146th Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 15th with "rigorous conditions."
Those include a commitment from Bob Baffert to provide "full transparency of medical and testing results" as all results will be released to the public.
The decision comes after it was announced on Sunday that Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone from blood sample testing following the 147th Kentucky Derby. Baffert disputed the claims, saying the horse was treated with Otomax, an ointment that contains betamethasone.
As a condition of acceptance of the entry, Baffert has provided his consent to the Maryland Jockey Club to allow for rigorous testing and monitoring in addition to that conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission (MRC). Those additional tests and monitoring are to ensure the fairness and integrity of the races entered by horses trained by Baffert, which are the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (GII) and the 146th Preakness Stakes (GI).
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 and Concert Tour are presently entered into the 146th Preakness Stakes and Beautiful Gift in the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
If any of the three Baffert horses test positive for a banned substance, or at a level for a permitted therapeutic substance that is above the designated limit, or if after medical review, reasonable conditions warrant, Baffert or MJC on his behalf, will scratch the horse in question.