Medina Spirit Tests Positive for Betamethasone

Horse Racing Radar
Valerie Mellema
Valerie Mellema is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Sunday, May 9, 2021

MEDINA SPIRIT has tested positive for betamethasone after his Kentucky Derby win. What is betamethasone? Also known as BetaVet, it is an injectable corticosteroid for use in horses for ongoing pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. For horse people, it's a joint injection. 

It is an allowed, therapeutic medication and 10 picograms is the allowed amount. Twenty-one picograms is what was found in the horse's system according to Baffert at this morning's press conference. A picogram is one trillionth of a gram.

Baffert states that he did not, nobody in his barn, nor did his vet administer the drug to the horse. He says this horse has never been treated with that medication. 

Watch his press conference courtesy of Paulick Report on Twitter:

Baffert says he will fight it tooth and nail and will do his own investigation and will be transparent about the findings.

MEDINA SPIRIT is not disqualified. He will have to undergo additional tests and a DNA sample. It's not a disqualification until the split sample comes, which has not yet been completed.

"I was totally shocked. It was shocking. I still can't believe we're talking about this right now," says Baffert. "The last thing I want to do is jeopardize the greatest two minutes in sports."

On the 18th, the horse had undergone pre-competition testing, not to mention the testing that has occurred along the way via the previous prep races the horse has participated in, none of which came back positive. Baffert won three other races that day and those horses have not tested positive, only MEDINA SPIRIT has had a positive test for trace amounts of the anti-inflammatory.

Churchill Downs has now made a statement in reponse to the post-race test allegations. 

"It is our understanding that Kentucky Derby winner MEDINA SPIRIT'S post-race blood sample indicated a violation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky's equine medication protocols. The connections of MEDINA SPIRIT have the right to request a split sample and we understand they intend to do so. To be clear, if the findings are upheld, MEDINA SPIRIT'S results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and MANDALOUN will be declared the winner.

"Failure to comply with the rules and medication protocols jeopardizes the safety of the horses and jockeys, the integrity of our sport and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby and all who participate. Churchill Downs will not tolerate it. Given the seriousness of the alleged offense, Churchill Downs will immediately suspend Bob Baffert, the trainer of MEDINA SPIRIT, from entering any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack. We will await the conclusion of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commissions's investigation before taking further steps."

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