This 12 months’s Kentucky Derby was set to be a constructive return to a semblance of normalcy after final 12 months’s race was delayed after which held with no spectators as a result of pandemic. On May 1, coach Bob Baffert made historical past along with his seventh profession win at Churchill Downs, however every week later, the nice emotions abruptly ended with the announcement that his horse Medina Spirit examined constructive for a drug, leaving the second leg of the Triple Crown race on the Preakness in query.
The query on racing followers’ minds immediately is: Will Medina Spirit be allowed to run in this Saturday’s Preakness? David Joseph, a spokesman for the Maryland Jockey Club (the group that runs the Preakness), informed Newsweek a choice has not but been made.
The Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) and 1/ST Racing (the corporate that owns the Pimlico Race Course the place the Preakness is held) additionally launched an announcement on Sunday following the announcement concerning the constructive drug take a look at.
It learn, in half: “1/ST Racing and MJC intend to review the relevant facts and information relating to the reported medication positive as a result of the post-race blood sample testing completed by Churchill Downs following the 147th Kentucky Derby involving Medina Spirit trained by Bob Baffert. We are consulting with the Maryland Racing Commission and any decision regarding the entry of Medina Spirit in the 146th Preakness Stakes will be made after review of the facts.”
J. Michael Hopkins, the manager director of the Maryland Racing Commission, urged the destiny of Medina Spirit is less than the governing physique he represents. He wrote to Newsweek that the fee “would not be making any decision or comment on this matter since the issue occurred in Kentucky.” He additionally declined to take a position on how the fee would reply ought to any additional proof towards Baffert emerge.
Baffert is accused of administering a more-than-acceptable quantity of a corticosteroid to Medina Spirit earlier than the Derby. A constructive drug take a look at confirmed twice the allowable restrict of betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory that isn’t technically unlawful, however can solely be used therapeutically no later than 14 days earlier than a race. (Betamethasone can also be not technically thought of a performance-enhancer.)
Baffert denies the horse used the drug in any respect. While not particularly saying he’s being focused, he did surprise why his horses maintain getting flagged. The Kentucky Derby marks the fifth time in a 12 months one among his horses has examined constructive for a drug. It’s additionally the second time in a 12 months one among his horses examined constructive for betamethasone after his filly Gamine was discovered to have greater than the suitable threshold in her system in final 12 months’s Kentucky Oaks.
Speaking to reporters at Churchill Downs after the constructive take a look at was introduced on Sunday, he stated he would combat the outcome. He additionally said: “There’s problems in racing, but it’s not Bob Baffert.”
As of now, Medina Spirit continues to be thought of the winner of the 147th operating of the Kentucky Derby. Before the horse is disqualified, a second take a look at—referred to as a “split sample”—should be proven to be constructive, in keeping with Kentucky Horse Racing Commission laws. That pattern’s outcomes may play a big half in Medina Spirit’s destiny in the Preakness.
Natalie Voss, the editor-in-chief of the horse racing publication Paulick Report, additional defined Medina Spirit’s eligibility in the Preakness. She wrote to Newsweek, “Legally, the hands of state racing commissions are tied until there is a ruling from Kentucky. Commissions in general cannot refuse a trainer entries, but they can suspend a trainer’s license, which will effectively prevent the trainer from entering horses while suspended. No state can impose sanctions on a trainer’s license without making a ruling, and a ruling can’t be made until after the split sample testing is complete.”
Voss additionally famous that “[s]tates will reciprocate each other’s rulings in terms of suspensions.” In different phrases, if Baffert’s license have been to be suspended in Kentucky, Maryland (dwelling of the Preakness) and New York (dwelling of the Belmont, the third leg of the Triple Crown) would additionally acknowledge that suspension. There is an attraction course of, although, which Voss stated could possibly be prolonged, and thus “if a ruling were issued that resulted in a suspension, it’s unlikely Baffert would be made to serve it before the appeals process concluded—and that could be months or even years.”
It’s additionally attainable a racetrack’s possession may deny Baffert from getting into horses with out fee rulings. In reality, Churchill Downs already suspended Baffert and introduced that the second-place horse in the Derby, Mandaloun, will probably be declared the winner ought to the break up pattern additionally flip up constructive.
“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,” observe officers stated in an announcement launched Sunday.
Voss thinks it is attainable that Preakness observe house owners 1/St Racing may observe Churchill Downs’ lead and droop Baffert, however there’s not a lot priority for the transfer. She wrote, “It is possible that the racetrack ownership could decide to exclude Baffert’s horses as a matter of exercising private property rights. This is not something that happens very often, and I’m not aware of it ever happening while the results of a split sample test are still pending, except for Churchill’s announcement yesterday.”
Now all of it comes all the way down to the break up pattern, which was drawn from Medina Spirit’s blood post-race and despatched to an impartial laboratory. The outcomes from the pattern might not come again for weeks.
Baffert has stated he totally intends on Medina Spirit’s operating in the Preakness Stakes. On Monday, his legal professional Craig Robertson stated he’s ready to file a brief restraining order that will prohibit Pimlico Race Course from denying Medina Spirit’s entry in Saturday’s Preakness.