Bob Baffert, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, suspended from entering Belmont Stakes

POSTED ON  |  10-06-2021

Bob Baffert
The trainer Bob Baffert was temporarily suspended Monday from entering horses — including Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit — in next month’s Belmont Stakes or races at other major New York tracks due to Medina Spirit’s positive test for a banned drug after its Derby victory. The suspension comes two days after Medina Spirit finished third in the Preakness Stakes — the second jewel in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown — and as Baffert awaits a second test that could erase Medina Spirit’s Derby win.

Medina Spirit tested positive for 21 picograms of the steroid betamethasone on the day of the Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, according to Baffert. While that drug can be legally used as a therapeutic in Kentucky on a horse, any trace of it on race day is grounds for disqualification if a second test confirms it was in the blood on that day.

The New York Racing Association said its decision to bar Baffert’s horses, for now, took into account not only the Derby probe, but also “the fact that other horses trained by Mr. Baffert have failed drug tests in the recent past, resulting in the assessment of penalties against him by thoroughbred racing regulators in Kentucky, California, and Arkansas.” The suspension applies to any Baffert horses entering races or occupying stall space at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack, the state’s three major thoroughbred racing venues.

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