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Baffert says ointment containing betamethasone was used to treat Medina Spirit

Bob Baffert Medina Spirit
Posted at 3:01 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 15:02:20-04

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bob Baffert, the trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit , confirmed Tuesday that the horse had been treated with Otomax, an ointment that contains betamethasone.

Following the win in the derby, Medina Spirit was found to have 21 picograms of betamethasone in its system, which is above the Derby limit of 10 picograms.

In a statement on Tuesday, Baffert claimed that a Medina Spirit was suffering from dermatitis following a race in California, and that one of his veterinarians treated the horse with Otomax. Baffert claimed he didn't find out until earlier this week that betamethasone is an active ingredient in Otomax.

Betamethasone is sometimes used to treat pain and inflammation in horses. It was the same drug found in Baffert-trained filly Gamine, who finished third in last fall’s Kentucky Oaks before being disqualified following a test. Baffert was fined $1,500 following that incident.

Baffert is appealing the positive test and part of the original sample will be re-tested. If the violation is upheld, Medina Spirit could be disqualified from its Kentucky Derby win and runner-up Mandaloun would be elevated to the winner.

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Baffert has denied all wrongdoing and promised full transparency with Kentucky racing officials. Churchill Downs nonetheless suspended Baffert from entering horses at the track.

Baffert still plans to race Medina Spirit at the next Triple Crown race, the Preakness Stakes. However, the Maryland Jockey Club and officials at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore say they will decide on horse's status after reviewing the facts.

Medina Spirit's owner, Amr F. Zedan, put his full support behind Baffert in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

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Baffert’s lawyer, W. Craig Robertson III, confirmed to the Associated Press he is prepared to file for a temporary restraining order to keep Preakness officials from denying Medina Spirit entry into the race, if they decide to do so.

Those events will unfold with Baffert back in California instead of at the race where, he will go for a record eighth victory.

This story was originally published by Scripps station WLEX in Lexington, Kentucky.