Baffert attorney: Test shows ointment led to failed Derby test

Baffert attorney: Test shows ointment led to failed Derby test
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

The following statements were sent late Friday by attorneys representing Bob Baffert and Zedan Racing in the case of Medina Spirit's failed Kentucky Derby drug test. They claim further testing has been completed by a laboratory in New York and the results "definitively resolve the matter in Kentucky and Medina Spirit should remain the official winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby."

A spokesperson for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission told Horse Racing Nation "it is our policy not to comment on ongoing investigations," but added "this is not over. There is a process and we will continue to let that play out."

First, from Baffert attorney Craig Robertson:

"The testing of the split urine sample of Medina Spirit has now been completed by Dr. George Maylin, director of the New York Drug Testing & Research Program.  By Order of the Franklin Circuit Court in Kentucky, this urine was tested 'to determine if the alleged topical administration of Otomax could have resulted in the finding of betamethasone' in Medina Spirit following the 2021 Kentucky Derby.  Those results have now definitively confirmed that the betamethasone present in Medina Spirit's system did indeed come from the topical ointment Otomax and not an injection.

"In other words, it has now been scientifically proven that what Bob Baffert said from the beginning was true – Medina Spirit was never injected with betamethasone and the findings following the Kentucky Derby were solely the result of the horse being treated for a skin condition by way of a topical ointment – all at the direction of Medina Spirit's veterinarian. 

"The betamethasone in an injection is betamethasone acetate.  The betamethasone in the topical ointment is betamethasone valerate.  Only betamethasone acetate is addressed and regulated in the rules of racing in Kentucky.  Thus, the presence of betamethasone valerate in Medina S, which resulted from a topical ointment, is not a rules violation.  Dr. Maylin’s testing not only confirmed the presence of betamethasone valerate, but also the absence of betamethasone acetate.  This should definitively resolve the matter in Kentucky and Medina Spirit should remain the official winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby.      

"Since May, Mr. Baffert has been the subject of an unfair rush to judgment.  We asked all along that everyone wait until the facts and science came to light.  Now that it has been scientifically proven that Mr. Baffert was truthful, did not break any rules of racing, and Medina Spirit’s victory was due solely to the heart and ability of the horse and nothing else, it is time for all members of racing to come together for the good of the sport.  Mr. Baffert has been a tremendous ambassador for the sport throughout his 46 year Hall of Fame career and he has every intention of continuing to do so."

Lawyer Clark O. Brewster, who represents Medina Spirit's owner Amr Zedan, offered this statement:

"As Legal counsel for, and on behalf of, Amr Zedan and Zedan Racing Stable, owner of Medina Spirit, winner of the 147th Kentucky Derby, it is extremely gratifying to learn that the New York Racing Laboratory through its Director Dr. George Marlin has scientifically confirmed that no Betamethazone Acetate was found in the post race urine specimen of Medina Spirit.

"Dr. Maylin reported that components of an ointment used to treat a skin lesion was confirmed through metabolite confirmation and that no Acetate that is part of the injectable Betamethazone was present. The Kentucky Racing Commission has steadfastly enacted rules relating to corticosteroid joint injection and have drawn a bright line rule that no injections are permitted within 14 days of a race. Now there is zero doubt that the 14 day rule some thought might have been violated by the earlier less specific testing is revealed as premature judgment. That groundless accusation is without scientific merit.

"Zedan is proud to have stood by Bob and is ecstatic that Medina Spirit will receive the honor of his great victory."

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