By Bill Finley
Amr Zedan, the Saudi Arabian businessman who owns Medina Spirit (Protonico), said Sunday that he believes Bob Baffert is innocent of any wrongdoing in this year's GI Kentucky Derby and will stand behind his trainer.
Baffert informed the media Sunday that Medina Spirit tested positive for the medication Betamethasone, a corticosteroid, after crossing the wire in front in this year's Derby.
“I totally support and believe Bob Baffert,” Zedan told the TDN. “He is a professional beyond belief and he has never administered this drug to this horse at all. Medina Spirit has never been treated with this drug and we hope that the split sample will definitely prove that. Bob Baffert has my support, 100%.”
Zedan said he was confident that Baffert will be exonerated and Medina Spirit will remain the official winner of the 2021 Derby.
“This story does not add up,” Zedan said. “I know Bob Baffert as a human being and as a friend and I trust him. I trust him blindly. This will go away and, hopefully, Medina Spirit will get reaffirmed as the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner.”
Should Medina Spirit be disqualified, Zedan will lose the $1,860,000 in purse money that goes to the winner of this year's Derby.
During a news conference he held at Churchill Downs, Baffert said he is not a “conspiracy theorist,” but, at the same time, questioned why he keeps getting positives. The implication was that he had done nothing wrong and that the system is flawed.
“I know one thing for sure, when you are that successful you create a lot of animosity,” Zedan said. “And a lot of issues get stirred up. I am not a believer in conspiracy theories. But this is a tax one pays for being that successful. There is absolutely no upside for anybody to do this. There was no reason to do this. He just finished up with whatever happened in Arkansas, where he was exonerated.”
Zedan said he had no plans to take any legal action of his own.
“I will leave it to Baffert,” he said. “He will take the lead on this. I am very much looking forward to being at the Preakness. I think he will make us proud in the Preakness and show everyone what a great horse he is. This, too, shall pass.”
Zedan has owned horses since 2017 and started off with Doug O'Neill. He had little success until sending his horses to Baffert in 2020. In addition to Medina Spirit, Baffert and Zedan teamed up to win the 2020 GI Del Mar Debutante and GI Chandelier S. with Princess Noor (Not This Time).