Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit has tested positive for betamethasone, a corticosteroid, the horse’s trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday morning.
Medina Spirit has not yet been disqualified, Baffert said, pending another test. If that test is positive, Medina Spirit would become the third Derby winner ever to be disqualified. Baffert was credited with a record 7th Derby win for training Medina Spirit.
In 2019, Maximum Security won the Kentucky Derby by 1 3/4 lengths but was subsequently placed 17th for interference with another horse. In 1968, Dancer’s Image won the Kentucky Derby, but the day after, officials reported that he failed a drug test. That set off a years-long court battle. Ultimately officials named second-place finisher Forward Pass as the Derby winner.
Medina Spirit was flagged for having 21 picograms of the illegal substance in a post-race drug test. Baffert called that result “shocking” because he claims the horse has “never been treated with betamethasone.”
The drug is used in horse racing to control pain and inflammation. It also builds red blood cells, which are important for endurance and oxygen uptake.