Medina Spirit is in jeopardy of becoming the second winner in the 147-year history of the Kentucky Derby to be disqualified after the colt’s post-race positive drug test was confirmed by a second lab.
The horse, trained by Bob Baffert, the most famous thoroughbred trainer in the country, was found to have traces of the drug betamethasone, a corticosteroid that is injected into joints to reduce pain and swelling, at a prohibited level.
The lawyer representing Medina Spirit’s owner, Amr Zedan, confirmed the findings of the second drug test but said the banned substance came from an ointment called Otomax that Baffert reportedly used to treat the horse’s skin rash.
If Medina Spirit is disqualified, Zedan will have to give up more than $1.8 million in first-place prize money earned when the horse won the race at Churchill Downs. The only other time a horse has been disqualified after winning the Derby came in 1968, when Dancer’s Image had to forfeit following a failed drug test.
Baffert, who initially took a defiant stance about the failed drug test and even blamed “cancel culture” for the controversy, has not commented on the second positive drug test result.