Medina Spirit's Kentucky Derby Win Could Be Vacated After Second Positive Steroid Test

Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid betamethasone, which could lead to the horse vacating its May 1 Kentucky Derby win and discipline for the trainer, the Associated Press reported.

Attorney Craig Robertson and Clark Brewster, who represented the horse's owner, Amp Zedan, said more testing will be done to hopefully prove the betamethasone was from an ointment to treat a skin infection, not an injection.

"I think that will shed the light most prominently on the issue here for us," Brewster told AP. "The whole basis for listing betamethasone is because it's injected into a joint and they want you not to inject the joints too close to a race, so the whole substantive basis is out the window if it's a salve, and it can be proven scientifically and empirically to be the salve."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Medina Spirit Wins 147th Kentucky Derby
John Velazquez rides Medina Spirit across the finish line to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 1, 2021. Trainer Bob Baffert’s lawyer said on June 2, 2021, that a split-sample test of Medina Spirit came back positive for the presence of the steroid betamethasone, which could lead to the horse’s disqualification and discipline for the Hall of Fame trainer. Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Rules in Kentucky do not differentiate punishment based on the source of the substance, which can be given to horses to help their joints and trainer Bob Baffert believes came from the dermatitis ointment. Churchill Downs said Medina Spirit would be disqualified if the split sample came back positive for betamethasone.

A spokeswoman for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation. Sherelle Roberts-Pierre said the commission "values fairness and transparency and will provide information to the media and public at the close of an investigation."

A Churchill Downs spokesman said the track is awaiting official notification of the split-sample test results from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

If Medina Spirit is disqualified, Mandaloun would be elevated as the winner of the Kentucky Derby.

Baffert is currently suspended by New York and not allowed to enter any horses in this weekend's Belmont Stakes pending the Derby investigation.

147th Kentucky Derby
Medina Spirit, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, crosses the finish line to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of Mandaloun, ridden by Florent Geroux, and Hot Rod Charlie, ridden by Flavien Prat, at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Kentucky. Media Spirit trainer Bob Baffert’s lawyer said on June 2, 2021, that a split-sample test of Medina Spirit came back positive for the presence of the steroid betamethasone, which could lead to the horse’s disqualification and discipline for the Hall of Fame trainer. Sarah Stier/Getty Images