Baffert shocked as Kentucky Derby winner fails drug test

Sun 9th May 2021, 17:21

Bob Baffert
© Photo Healy Racing

Bob Baffert has insisted he is innocent of any wrongdoing after announcing Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit has tested positive for 21 picograms of the anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone.

The Hall of Fame trainer told reporters at a press conference on Sunday that the findings — which are above the permitted raceday level of 10 picograms in Kentucky — were a “gut punch”.

He said: “All I can tell you is that betamethasone, even though it’s an allowed drug, a therapeutic medication, we did not give it, my veterinarian or anyone here.

“Medina Spirit has never been treated with betamethasone, (and) I cannot believe that I’m here before you guys. I never thought I’d be here. Yesterday (Saturday) I got the biggest gut punch I’ve had in racing, for something that I didn’t do, and it’s really disturbing — it’s an injustice to the horse.

“I don’t know what’s going on in racing right now, but something’s not right. I don’t feel embarrassed, I feel like I was robbed.

“We are going to do our own investigation — we are going to be transparent with the racing commission, like we have always been. We are going to show them everything — and one thing about California, everything is documented every day, what the horses get.

“This horse was never treated with that, and he’s a great horse, he doesn’t deserve this — he ran a gallant race and to me. I just feel like this last 18 months, what I’ve gone through, it’s like all of us right here, just imagine going to work every day and they test you every day for these levels, these contamination levels and they told you if you tested positive you were going to be fired. That’s the way I feel.

“I do not feel safe to train — it’s getting worse and to me going forward how do I enjoy the training? How do I move forward from this, knowing that something like this can happen and it’s just a complete injustice?

“But I’m going to fight it tooth and nail, because I owe it to the horse; I owe it to the owner and I owe it to our industry.

“I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I know everybody is not out to get me, but there is definitely something wrong. Why is it happening to me?”

Baffert added: “We know we didn’t do it, and that’s the thing. We didn’t have anything to do with it. I don’t know how it got in his system, if it’s in his system or was there a mistake — we are going to get to the bottom of it.”

Ridden by John Velazquez, Medina Spirit made all in the Churchill Downs showpiece to beat Mandaloun by half a length, giving Baffert his seventh victory in the ‘Run for the Roses’.

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