Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and Zedan Racing Stables are asking a court to order the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to permit additional testing on urine samples taken from Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit.
A hearing is set for Friday morning, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid betamethasone after the Kentucky Derby on May 1 and could be disqualified from winning the race, held at Churchill Downs. A subsequent test confirmed the positive result, horse owner Amr Zedan’s attorney, Clark Brewster, said last week.
Baffert contends an ointment administered to Medina Spirit for a skin condition must have led to the positive test.
Brewster said the California lab that did the second test did not look for other substances “which could prove the trace positive came from an inadvertent and materially inconsequential contamination sourced from a topical ointment used to treat Medina Spirit for a skin lesion on his hip.”
According to the complaint filed in Franklin (Ky.) County Court, the racing commission has refused to allow the requested testing, the Herald-Leader reported.
“Time is of the essence as biologic samples degrade with each passing day. Without intervention from this Court, Plaintiffs will forever lose the opportunity to test, analyze and cross-examine the only evidence that purports to establish a violation of the KHRC’s regulations — Medina Spirit’s biological urine sample that was split from the primary sample following the race,” the court filing said.
Last week, Churchill Downs banned Baffert and his team from racing at any of its tracks for two years.
Medina Spirit won the race at 12-1 odds, holding off 26-1 Mandaloun, 5-1 Hot Rod Charlie and 5-2 favorite Essential Quality in the stretch to prevail by a half-length under jockey John Velazquez, who won his fourth Kentucky Derby. It was a record seventh Derby win for Baffert.
If Medina Spirit ultimately is stripped of the title, second-place finisher Mandaloun will be the 2021 Derby winner.
Dancer’s Image is the only winning horse in Kentucky Derby history disqualified because of a failed drug test. That occurred in 1968.
–Field Level Media