Following the news Sunday morning that last week's GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico) had tested positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone, Churchill Downs issued a statement, notably saying that it would not allow trainer Bob Baffert to enter runners at its track pending a full Kentucky Horse Racing Commission investigation.
The statement read:
“It is our understanding that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit's post-race blood sample indicated a violation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky's equine medication protocols. The connections of Medina Spirit have the right to request a test of a split sample and we understand they intend to do so. To be clear, if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit's results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner.
“Failure to comply with the rules and medication protocols jeopardizes the safety of the horses and jockeys, the integrity of our sport and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby and all who participate. Churchill Downs will not tolerate it. 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. We will await the conclusion of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commissions' investigation before taking further steps.”
The Baffert barn has made nine starts at the current Churchill meet, with five wins, including with Gamine (Into Mischief) in the GI Derby City Distaff and Du Jour in the GII American Turf S. on Derby day; and this past Saturday with allowance winners Crystal Ball (Malibu Moon) and Himiko (American Pharoah).