Bob Baffert Suspended After 2nd Test Fail
Legendary Kentucky Derby trainer Bob Baffert has been suspended from Churchill Downs for two years. This after Baffert’s prize Derby runner, Medina Spirit, recently failed a second postrace drug test by testing positive for the steroid betamethasone.
Yet to be decided is Medina Spirit’s standing for the race, which was competed on May 1. According to Kentucky Horse Racing Commission spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts-Pierre, fairness and transparency are highly valued by the commission and as such, all relevant information will be released to the general public once the investigation has been finalised.
If indeed Medina Spirit is ultimately ruled disqualified by the commission, runner-up finisher of the May 1 event, Mandaloun will be declared the new winner. The rules laid down by the commission however stipulate that bettors who initially bet on Mandaloun winning the race will not be able to claim any winnings.
Baffert A Repeat-Offender
Medina Spirit’s first postrace drug test showed a positive result for 21 picograms of the steroid, a reading more than twice the legal limit. The second test, which was performed at a lab at UC Davis, found 25 picograms.
As for Baffert, his initial explanation had been one of the horses having ingested hay that had been urinated on by a medicated groom. His attorney, Craig Robertson, however, later changed the “likely” explanation to that of Medina Spirit having been treated for a skin condition with an ointment containing betamethasone.
Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen has remained firm in the company’s decision to ban the famous trainer for the mentioned period, saying repeated incidents involving Baffert over the last year had severely tarnished the general public’s confidence in the fairness of race-outcomes. Baffert’s explanations have only grown increasingly more “extraordinary”, added Carstanjen.
Major Turn-Out For 2021
Aside from the drama involving Medina Spirit and trainer Bob Baffert, this year’s Kentucky Derby was declared a massive success.
The event saw 51,838 people physically present on the day, the largest number of people grouped together at a sporting event/race in person since the start of the global health crisis. While still only around a third of the crowd that attended in-person back in 2019, it had been a major improvement over 2020’s no-attendance.
In-person attendance undoubtedly played a deciding role in the $155.4 million in bets wagered on this year’s Kentucky Derby – a handle that came very close to the all-time race record of $165.5 million.