Second Medina Spirit Drug Test Means Historic Kentucky Derby DQ

Written By Brett Gibbons on June 2, 2021
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The Medina Spirit-Bob Baffert saga continues with a huge confirmation from a second drug test from the University of California, Davis. The positive test confirmed a banned substance intended to ease pain and joint swelling in horses and will officially forfeit the 2021 Kentucky Derby victory.

Medina Spirit will become just the second horse ever to be disqualified for a failed drug test in the 147-year history of the Derby. Baffert and Medina Spirit’s owners would have to go to court in Kentucky to fight the DQ, something Baffert has done in other states.

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When the forfeiture becomes official, runner up Mandaloun will be awarded the Derby victory. All bets from race day stand, despite the change in result.

Going into the race, Medina Spirit was listed as a 12-1 longshot, behind popular favorites Essential Quality and Rock Your World. Mandaloun was an even longer shot at 27-1.

Medina Spirit was never set to race in this year’s Belmont Stakes after being beaten by Rombauer in the Preakness. The New York Racing Association placed a suspension on Baffert and a ban on Medina Spirit amid the controversy.

Belmont Stakes odds and betting breakdown

Baffert had initially taken to the press to vehemently reject any wrongdoing and blame horse racing officials for being out to get him. He later announced through his attorney a topical balm (which lists the banned substance on the label) was the reason for the positive test.

Churchill Downs was the first to lay punishment, suspending Baffert for two years from any races on their grounds. Winnings for Medina Spirit’s connections from the Kentucky Derby will also be forfeited.

Horse racing as a whole has faced intense scrutiny and this latest test could be a fulcrum in how situations are handled in the future. Similarly to the NFL ‘making examples’ of players amid a flux of abuse allegations, Baffert could be on the receiving end of a severe punishment.

For those who bet on Mandaloun, well, it’s a moral victory. But nothing more.

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Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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