Baffert's horses cleared to race in Preakness

Baffert's horses cleared to race in Preakness
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire


Tenuous though his hold may be on his Kentucky Derby victory, Medina Spirit has been declared drug-free and eligible to race Saturday in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

The Stronach Group, the track owner, and the Maryland Jockey Club announced in a joint statement Friday that Medina Spirit and his Bob Baffert stablemates Concert Tour and Beautiful Gift had passed three out-of-competition tests. That means Beautiful Gift may race as the presumptive favorite in Friday’s feature, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) for 3-year-old fillies. Medina Spirit and Concert Tour were cleared to start in the Preakness.

Because Medina Spirit was found after the Derby to have had an excess trace amount of the anti-inflammatory medication betamethasone, the MJC levered Baffert into an agreement to scratch any of his horses who might have failed out-of-competition tests since last week.

“Consistent with the fair procedures and practices established by (TSG) and MJC, the additional tests and monitoring were conducted as part of the rigorous condition of entry agreement to ensure the fairness and integrity of the races with horses entered by Baffert,” the joint statement said.

Samples were drawn from the horses last Thursday and Monday by the MJC and sent to Industrial Laboratories in Colorado. The last bloodwork was taken Tuesday by The Stronach Group and MJC and delivered to the Maddy Laboratory at the University of California Davis. The results from last Thursday’s tests were announced Thursday; the latter pair on Friday.

The clear results in Maryland do not absolve Medina Spirit in Kentucky. If a second split sample also comes back positive for betamethasone, he stands to be disqualified and stripped of his Derby victory. There has been no announcement from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission about when that result may be expected.

Churchill Downs acted quickly to indefinitely ban Baffert’s horses from the racetrack after the first test result was revealed Sunday

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