Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit will be permitted to enter Saturday’s running of the Preakness, but with conditions imposed after the horse failed a drug test following the Derby.
“As a condition of acceptance of the entry, (trainer Bob) Baffert has provided his consent to the Maryland Jockey Club to allow for rigorous testing and monitoring in addition to that conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission (MRC),” according to a release from Preakness officials.
Earlier Tuesday, Baffert said Medina Spirit was treated with an antifungal ointment containing the steroid betamethasone that caused the horse to fail a postrace drug test.
In a statement issued by his lawyer, Baffert said Medina Spirit was treated for dermatitis with the ointment once a day leading up to the May 1 race and that equine pharmacology experts have told him this could explain the test results. Baffert said the horse tested positive for 21 picograms of the substance, which is typically given to horses therapeutically to help their joints and is a violation even at a trace amount on race day in Kentucky.
Regardless of the reason, Medina Spirit would be disqualified from the Derby if a second round of testing shows the presence of betamethasone.
“My investigation is continuing, and we do not know for sure if this ointment was the cause of the test results, or if the test results are even accurate, as they have yet to be confirmed by the split sample,” Baffert said. “I have been told that a finding of a small amount, such as 21 picograms, could be consistent with application of this type of ointment.”
Baffert said at a news conference Sunday at Churchill Downs that he did not know how the substance made its way into the colt’s system.