Bob Baffert Banned From Churchill Downs
Legendary horse trainer Bob Baffert has been suspended from Churchill Downs after his most recent winner failed a post race drug test.
Medina Spirit recently won the Kentucky Derby, but that win could be invalidated if the test results hold up.
Churchill Downs released a statement on Sunday that read, “Given the seriousness of the alleged offense, Churchill Downs will immediately suspend Bob Baffert, the trainer of Medina Spirit, from entering any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack.” This decision could be challenged in court, but this is a developing story at this time.
Mandaloun could be named the winner of the most prestigious horse race of the year after finishing in second place to Medina Spirit. Dancer’s Image was stripped of its Kentucky Derby title in 1968, but that is the only other time in history that it has happened. Its certainly been a different race outcome to last year when Authentic romped home to take the victory.
This is the fifth horse that Baffert has trained that has failed a drug test in a one-year time span. Baffert was the one that broke the news of the failed drug test, but he has also vowed to fight the result.
The failed drug test comes after Medina Spirit was found to have 21 picograms of betamethasone in his system after the race. Betamethasone can be used as a steroid for horses, but 21 picograms were double the allowed limit.
Baffert has maintained his innocence and made it clear in his statement that Medina Spirit has not yet been stripped of its Kentucky Derby title. Attorney Craig Robertson was on hand for the press conference held by Baffert, and he will help the trainer fight these test results.
Not only does Baffert believe that the test was inaccurate, but he claims that he has never used the steroid on this horse. Medina Spirit is expected to compete in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday after giving Baffert his record-setting 7th Kentucky Derby win.
Baffert plans to fight this decision in court, and he has been successful in appealing failed drug tests in the past. This could be a long process that takes months before an official decision is reached and an official Kentucky Derby champion is crowned. Whatever the outcome, it will have a huge impact on how the tariner is perceived when it comes to horse racing in the US.
Betting Favorites Out of Preakness Stakes
Medina Spirit could be facing a much easier task in looking to win the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown. Two of the top competitors have withdrawn from the field, shortening the odds for the Kentucky Derby champion.
Trainer Brad Cox has actually pulled all three of his horses out of the Preakness Stakes after taking one out of the field at Churchill Downs. Caddo River missed the Kentucky Derby after coming down with a fever.
Mandaloun has been scratched from the Preakness Stakes after nearly winning the Kentucky Derby. Essential Quality was the betting favorite at Churchill Downs but wound up finishing in fourth place.
The decision by Cox to keep Mandalous out of the upcoming Preakness Stakes was made in an effort to keep him fresh for another Kentucky Derby run in the future. Essential Quality will be back on track in August at the Travers Stakes.
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