Medina Spirit stripped of Kentucky Derby victory; trainer Baffert suspended 90 days

Medina Spirit was stripped of the triumph in last year’s Kentucky Derby and Mandaloun was declared the winner after a ruling by state racing stewards on Monday.

The since-deceased Medina Spirit tested positive after the race last May for a steroid, betamethasone, that is legal in Kentucky but banned on race day.

Medina Spirit finished half a length ahead of Mandaloun in the race, giving trainer Bob Baffert what was then his seventh Kentucky Derby title. Baffert was subsequently banned for two years by Churchill Downs following the positive test.

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Monday’s decision by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission makes Medina Sprit the second horse in the 146-year history of the race to be disqualified for a banned substance; the first was Dancer’s Image in 1968, a decision that gave Forward Pass the win. The only other disqualification was in 2019 when Maximum Security was penalized because of interference.

Following the announcement by the racing stewards, Churchill Downs issued a statement declaring Mandaloun the Kentucky Derby winner.

Mandaloun’s owners will receive the $1.8 million US winner’s purse.

“Today Churchill Downs recognizes Mandaloun as the winner of the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby and extends our congratulations to owner/breeder Juddmonte, trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux.

Winning the Kentucky Derby is one of the most exciting achievements in sports and we look forward to celebrating Mandaloun on a future date in a way that is fitting of this rare distinction,” the famed track said in a statement.

The racing commission also suspended Baffert for 90 days and fined him $7,500 US on Monday.

Medina Spirit collapsed and died on Dec. 6 of a heart attack following a training run at Santa Anita less than a month after finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar.

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