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Medina Spirit disqualified from 2021 Kentucky Derby


The decision is in. Medina Spirit, who died in December, has had his title stripped as the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner and his trainer, Bob Baffert, has been suspended and fined. Watch the story from last week’s hearing in the player above.The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced Monday that Medina Spirit has been disqualified. The official winner is now the second-place horse, Mandaloun.That means for the second time in 3 years, the first horse to cross the finish line is not the winner.Medina Spirit’s fate as the winner had been in the balance after failing a drug test not long after the May 1 race.The horse died in December at Santa Anita Park in California on Dec. 6 following a workout. No definitive cause of death could be determined in a necropsy (animal autopsy).Read more about that here.In addition to Monday’s ruling on the winner, Baffert has been suspended for 90 days and was issued a $7,500 fine. That suspension means he is “denied theprivileges of all facilities under the jurisdiction of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.Entry of all horses owned or trained by Mr. Baffert is denied pending transfer to personsacceptable to the stewards.” According to the ruling, all purse money, $1.86 million, which went to the owner, trainer, etc., must be forfeited and returned to the association.It will be redistributed based on the new official order of finish: Read it here.Baffert’s attorney, Clark Brewster, said they will appeal the decision.His statement said, in part, “We are disappointed by the Commission’s ruling, but not surprised. This ruling represents an egregious departure from both the facts and the law, but the numerous public statements by KHRC officials over the last several months have made perfectly clear that Bob Baffert’s fate was decided before we ever sat down for a hearing before the three stewards, one of whom is directly employed by Churchill Downs as the racing director at Turfway Park. We will appeal, and we will prevail when the facts and rules are presented to detached, neutral decisionmakers.”Read the full statement here.More on the drug testDays after the Derby, Medina Spirit was found to have 21 picograms of the steroid betamethasone, double the legal threshold in Kentucky racing, in a postrace sample.Betamethasone is legal in Kentucky, but prohibited on race day.Baffert has claimed that the drugs came from an ointment used to treat a skin condition, not an injection. His attorney says it was administered at the direction of a veterinarian. Trouble for BaffertIn addition to Monday’s suspension, Baffert was already suspended by Churchill Downs and was barred from entering horses in the 2022 and 2023 Kentucky Derbies.He also was banned by the New York Racing Association from entering horses at its Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct tracks. Mandaloun’s historic winSo there’s a new winner. And this win is historic, too. Mandaloun was trained by Brad Cox, a Louisville native. Cox is now the first person from Louisville to ever train a Derby-winning horse.WLKY reached out to Cox who said:”Honestly no real feeling or emotion. Just hopeful maybe something like pre-race testing can be done prior to the running of a race of this magnitude in the future. I’m not sure what would be so hard about figuring that out.”Mandaloun was jockeyed by Florent Geroux.What about your bets?Monday’s DQ does not affect pari-mutuel racing, so the bets you made on Derby Day stand — you will not get more or lose any money. It only affects the purse, which goes to owner, trainer, etc.Governor weighs inGov. Andy Beshear was asked about the stewards’ decision, and he said, “the most important thing for the integrity of the sport was for them to get it right. I’m sure that there will be other appeals from here, but the commission and the sport set certain things that you cannot have in your system as a racehorse on race day. And it appears here whether it was intentional or unintentional that was violated and they’ve enforced their regulations.” The last DQ As noted earlier, this is the second DQ in just 3 years. In 2019, Maximum Security was disqualified for making a wide blocking move that interfered with the path of several horses.That resulted in Country House, a longshot, taking the win. Read more here.The only other, the first one, was Dancer’s Image in 1968. Read more on that story from our sister station WMUR.

The decision is in. Medina Spirit, who died in December, has had his title stripped as the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner and his trainer, Bob Baffert, has been suspended and fined.

Watch the story from last week’s hearing in the player above.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced Monday that Medina Spirit has been disqualified. The official winner is now the second-place horse, Mandaloun.

That means for the second time in 3 years, the first horse to cross the finish line is not the winner.

Medina Spirit’s fate as the winner had been in the balance after failing a drug test not long after the May 1 race.

The horse died in December at Santa Anita Park in California on Dec. 6 following a workout. No definitive cause of death could be determined in a necropsy (animal autopsy).

Read more about that here.

In addition to Monday’s ruling on the winner, Baffert has been suspended for 90 days and was issued a $7,500 fine. That suspension means he is “denied the
privileges of all facilities under the jurisdiction of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Entry of all horses owned or trained by Mr. Baffert is denied pending transfer to persons
acceptable to the stewards.”

According to the ruling, all purse money, $1.86 million, which went to the owner, trainer, etc., must be forfeited and returned to the association.

It will be redistributed based on the new official order of finish: Read it here.

Baffert’s attorney, Clark Brewster, said they will appeal the decision.

His statement said, in part, “We are disappointed by the Commission’s ruling, but not surprised. This ruling represents an egregious departure from both the facts and the law, but the numerous public statements by KHRC officials over the last several months have made perfectly clear that Bob Baffert’s fate was decided before we ever sat down for a hearing before the three stewards, one of whom is directly employed by Churchill Downs as the racing director at Turfway Park. We will appeal, and we will prevail when the facts and rules are presented to detached, neutral decisionmakers.”

Read the full statement here.

More on the drug test

Days after the Derby, Medina Spirit was found to have 21 picograms of the steroid betamethasone, double the legal threshold in Kentucky racing, in a postrace sample.

Betamethasone is legal in Kentucky, but prohibited on race day.

Baffert has claimed that the drugs came from an ointment used to treat a skin condition, not an injection. His attorney says it was administered at the direction of a veterinarian.

Trouble for Baffert

In addition to Monday’s suspension, Baffert was already suspended by Churchill Downs and was barred from entering horses in the 2022 and 2023 Kentucky Derbies.

He also was banned by the New York Racing Association from entering horses at its Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct tracks.

Mandaloun’s historic win

So there’s a new winner. And this win is historic, too. Mandaloun was trained by Brad Cox, a Louisville native. Cox is now the first person from Louisville to ever train a Derby-winning horse.

Brad Cox (center)

WLKY reached out to Cox who said:

“Honestly no real feeling or emotion. Just hopeful maybe something like pre-race testing can be done prior to the running of a race of this magnitude in the future. I’m not sure what would be so hard about figuring that out.”

Mandaloun was jockeyed by Florent Geroux.

What about your bets?

Monday’s DQ does not affect pari-mutuel racing, so the bets you made on Derby Day stand — you will not get more or lose any money. It only affects the purse, which goes to owner, trainer, etc.

Governor weighs in

Gov. Andy Beshear was asked about the stewards’ decision, and he said, “the most important thing for the integrity of the sport was for them to get it right. I’m sure that there will be other appeals from here, but the commission and the sport set certain things that you cannot have in your system as a racehorse on race day. And it appears here whether it was intentional or unintentional that was violated and they’ve enforced their regulations.”

The last DQ

As noted earlier, this is the second DQ in just 3 years. In 2019, Maximum Security was disqualified for making a wide blocking move that interfered with the path of several horses.

That resulted in Country House, a longshot, taking the win. Read more here.

The only other, the first one, was Dancer’s Image in 1968. Read more on that story from our sister station WMUR.



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