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Medina Spirit may have died from a heart attack but no 'definitive cause of death,' necropsy finds

Medina Spirit
Posted at 1:26 PM, Feb 11, 2022

(LEX 18) — Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit may have died from a heart attack, a necropsy report has found, but the report was inconclusive to indicate an exact cause of death.

Veterinarians and forensic experts at the University of California-Davis conducted the necropsy. The necropsy report says an anti-ulcer medication and a diuretic were detected in the blood and urine samples, consistent with the medication report filed with the California Horse Racing Board.

"No other drugs, heavy metals (including cobalt), or toxicants were detected," the report said.

According to the California Horse Racing Board, findings from the necropsy included swollen lungs, foam in the windpipe, an enlarged spleen, and mild bleeding. They say those symptoms are "common in horses dying suddenly." The board also said they are "compatible with, but not specific for a cardiac cause of death."

Medina Spirit died on December 6th on the track in Santa Anita, California. The colt won the Kentucky Derby last year but later failed a drug test. That led to trainer Bob Baffert's suspension and a legal battle over the testing. Baffert says an ointment caused the failed results.

A hearing to determine if Medina Spirit will keep the title of Kentucky Derby winner has not been scheduled.