BALTIMORE – Preakness reps said Tuesday they will allow Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit to compete in the race on Saturday after the stallion’s post-derby drug test failed.
Medina Spirit and two other horses trained by Bob Baffert will undergo a special test in the days before the second jewel of the Triple Crown. The Maryland Racing Commission and Baffert have agreed on terms for Medina Spirit, the Preakness Runner Concert Tour and Beautiful Gift, which are slated to run in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on Friday.
“We have an agreement with Mr. Baffert and his attorneys that allows for additional testing and monitoring – essentially a watch list to ensure the integrity of the sport before the race,” said Alan Rifkin, attorney for the Maryland Jockey Club. “We are very pleased and appreciate Mr. Baffert’s patience and the way his lawyers have dealt with it.”
Baffert’s attorney, Craig Robertson, wrote an agreement in his letter to Rifkin that Baffert “consents to the publication of this letter and all test results.”
Medina Spirit drew number 3 as the favorite of the 9-5 acre line on Tuesday on a field of 10 horses. The Concert Tour pulled the outer 10th post and is the second choice in the 5-2 stakes.
Ram pulled the No. 1 post at 30-1, Keepmeinmind the No. 2 at 15-1, Crowded Trade the No. 4 post at 10-1, Midnight Bourbon the No. 5 post at 5-1, Rombauer No. 6 at 12-1, France Go de Ina No. 7 at 20-1, Unbridled Honor No. 8 at 15-1 and Risk Taking the No. 9 at 15-1.
– Preakness Stakes (@PreaknessStakes) May 11, 2021
In a statement his attorney made earlier Tuesday, Baffert said that Medina Spirit had been treated with the ointment for dermatitis once a day prior to the May 1 race, and that equine pharmacology experts had told him that this might explain the test results . Baffert said the horse tested positive for 21 picograms of the substance, which is typically given to horses therapeutically to support their joints, and even at trace levels is an injury on race day in Kentucky.
Dr. Maryland Racing’s chief veterinary officer, Dionne Benson, said at the preakness draw that test results for the three Baffert horses are expected as early as Friday. This is an extra layer of blood tests from blood taken last week, Monday, and Tuesday in addition to the usual follow-up exams.
“”[The tests] This allows us to ensure that the horse is aware of betamethasone or other therapeutic or illegal drugs, if any, before the race, as most tests now traditionally take place after the race and this allows us, rather than addressing the problem afterwards, to prevent the problem from becoming a problem. “
Benson said if betamethasone is detected in any of the horses through laboratory tests, officials will ask Baffert to scratch the horse.
“Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby and my pharmacologists told me that 21 picograms of betamethasone would not have affected the outcome of the race,” Baffert said in his earlier statement Tuesday. “Medina Spirit is a deserved champion and I will continue to fight for him.”
Regardless of the reason, Medina Spirit would be disqualified from the derby if a second round of testing reveals the presence of betamethasone. Derby second Mandaloun would be made the winner. It is unknown how long it will take Kentucky officials to determine if the derby results will last or change.
Medina Spirit’s failed drug test marks the fifth drug injury in the past 13 months for Baffert, a two-time coach who has won the Triple Crown and the face of the sport. Winning the preakness with Medina Spirit or Concert Tour would give Baffert a record win in this race and a draw with trainer R.W. Breaking walden from the 19th century.
With the exception of 2020, when the Triple Crown races were no longer okay due to the pandemic, Baffert is unbeaten with the Derby winner in Preakness.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.