Medina Spirit stripped of Kentucky Derby victory

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Medina Spirit was stripped of the victory in final yr’s Kentucky Derby and Mandaloun was declared the winner after a ruling by state racing stewards on Monday.

The since-deceased Medina Spirit examined optimistic after the race final Might for a steroid, betamethasone, that’s authorized in Kentucky however banned on race day.

Medina Spirit completed half a size forward of Mandaloun within the race, giving coach Bob Baffert what was then his seventh Kentucky Derby title. Baffert was subsequently banned for 2 years by Churchill Downs following the optimistic take a look at.

Monday’s resolution by the Kentucky Horse Racing Fee makes Medina Spirit the second horse within the 146-year historical past of the race to be disqualified for a banned substance; the primary was Dancer’s Picture in 1968, a call that gave Ahead Go the victory. The one different disqualification was in 2019, when Most Safety was penalized due to interference, giving Nation Home the win.

Following the announcement by the racing stewards, Churchill Downs issued a press release declaring Mandaloun the Kentucky Derby winner and congratulating proprietor and breeder Juddmonte Farms, coach Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux. Cox turns into the primary Louisville native to win essentially the most well-known race within the sport, and Mandaloun’s house owners will obtain the $1.8 million winner’s purse.

“We stay up for celebrating Mandaloun on a future date in a approach that’s becoming of this uncommon distinction,” the assertion mentioned.

Bettors who backed Mandaloun to win within the pari-mutuel pool is not going to be refunded or paid, regardless of the disqualification of Medina Spirit.

Kentucky Horse Racing Fee rules state that: “Funds of legitimate pari-mutuel tickets shall be made on the premise of the order of end as declared ‘official’ by the stewards or judges. A subsequent change within the order of end or award of purse cash that will end result from a subsequent ruling by the stewards, judges, or fee shall not have an effect on the pari-mutuel payout.”

Roughly $155.4 million was wager on the Kentucky Derby pari-mutuel pool. An estimated $11 million to $12 million was wager on Medina Spirit, based mostly on his odds to win (12-1). An estimated $3 million to $4 million was staked on Mandaloun, who went off at 26-1.

Churchill Downs plans to switch Medina Spirit with Mandaloun on the paddock signal honoring the Derby winner on Tuesday. Mandaloun is about to run within the $20 million Saudi Cup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday. The winner receives $10 million.

The racing fee additionally suspended Baffert for 90 days and fined him $7,500 on Monday. The choice adopted a Feb. 14 listening to that was closed to the general public and media.

Clark Brewster, an legal professional for Baffert, mentioned he would enchantment the ruling.

“This ruling represents an egregious departure from each the details and the legislation,” Brewster mentioned, “however the quite a few public statements by KHRC officers during the last a number of months have made completely clear that Bob Baffert’s destiny was determined earlier than we ever sat down for a listening to earlier than the three stewards, certainly one of whom is straight employed by Churchill Downs because the racing director at Turfway Park.”

The California Horse Racing Board mentioned it’s going to honor Baffert’s suspension at its tracks. He’s based mostly at Santa Anita, the place he has already gained a few of this season’s 3-year-old prep races for the Kentucky Derby.

The CHRB additionally mentioned it’s going to honor any keep or preliminary injunction if granted by Kentucky racing officers or a courtroom.

Medina Spirit collapsed and died on Dec. 6 of a coronary heart assault following a coaching run at Santa Anita lower than a month after ending second within the Breeders’ Cup Basic at Del Mar.

Baffert, a Corridor of Fame coach, initially denied wrongdoing after a postrace drug take a look at revealed 21 picograms of betamethasone within the horse’s system. Baffert later acknowledged treating the horse with a topical ointment containing the corticosteroid for a pores and skin irritation.

Churchill Downs subsequently suspended Baffert, citing a latest spate of failed drug checks by his horses. Baffert sued the racing fee final June, searching for custody of remnant samples of Medina Spirit’s blood and urine for subsequent testing to show that the steroid didn’t come from an injection.

One other Baffert legal professional, Craig Robertson, mentioned in December {that a} urine take a look at from a break up pattern confirmed the steroid got here from an ointment.

Animal Wellness Motion govt director Marty Irby applauded the stewards in a press release for taking motion in opposition to Baffert, whom he referred to as “American horse racing’s most notorious violator.”

“Baffert continues to pull horse racing via the mud in scandal after scandal,” Irby mentioned, “and we name on each racing jurisdiction within the nation to carry him accountable by reciprocating the Kentucky Horse Racing Fee’s suspension in their very own state. We’re elated that Baffert will not be taking part within the upcoming 2022 Kentucky Derby and imagine the horses will probably be higher off, and the occasion could have extra credibility, with out him.”

ESPN’s David Purdum and The Related Press contributed to this report.

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