Kentucky Derby Winner Fails Second Test, Churchill Downs Bans Bob Baffert For Two Years--Win Bets On Mandaloun Will Not Be Honored

While it can possibly be Otomax, the ointment, according to embattled trainer Bob Baffert, comprising betamethasone that was applied to a skin lesion on Medina Spirit's hip, that left the documented 21 picograms of this banned substance on Kentucky Derby's race day at the bloodstream of their eventual winner, at the existence of the medication in the horse was buttressed in the last 24 hours by an elevated positive trace of their corticoid.

Kentucky Derby Winner Fails Second Test, Churchill Downs Bans Bob Baffert For Two Years--Win Bets On Mandaloun Will Not Be Honored

The University of California in Davis laboratory registered a positive result of 25 picograms from precisely the same blood sample.

The financial and legal implications -- to the game, for Medina Spirit's proprietor for the embattled coach in whose barn that the trace happened, and not least, for the bettors who endorsed the presumed eventual Derby winner Mandaloun -- are far-reaching and will take time to shake out. But the positive result from the so-called"split sample" instantly caused several conflagrations, many spectacularly at Churchill Downs, who extended their first two-week ban of this trainer that has won the maximum Kentucky Derbys in the race's 147-year history to a rare two-year ban from racing at the storied track.

The additional bad news for Baffert, his owners and athletes will be that the ban will likely expand to Keeneland's storied monitor, the website of their 2022 Breeders' Cup races. The California irony here is that betamethasone isalso, within limits, not a completely banned medication by that state's racing commission so that which may account for the apparently liberal application of this ointment containing the chemical to Medina Spirit's skin lesion -- but the upshot for Baffert now is that, unless California decides to follow Kentucky's example and ban Baffert normally, the coach could be racing as usual at the 2021 Breeders' Cup in Del Mar..

It's axiomatic in the sport that great precision has to be exercised in the veterinary details of caring for Thoroughbred athletes. One enormous ongoing irony of this positive presence of the drug in Medina Spirit has been and will be that it's now fallen into the lawyers and into the racing commissions to show a form of what we might call regulatory"aftercare" of their two-legged customers. Two of the hardest-working attorneys in that regard have been Craig Robertson, the attorney for Bob Baffert, and Clark Brewster, the attorney for Medina Spirit's owner Amr Zedan. As they affirmed the news of the second positive test on June 2, they added the sample was sent for subsequent evaluations for other substances -- in the salve -- which could demonstrate that the salve was the origin of the horse's contamination. Those test results should be with us at the next week to ten days, it's thought.

Brewster told the AP that the second more comprehensive set of tests could, as he put it,"discard the light most prominently about the matter here for us. The entire foundation for record betamethasone is because it's injected into a joint and they need you to not inject the joints too close to the race, therefore the entire substantive basis is outside the window when it is a salve, and it can be shown scientifically and empirically to be the salve."

Sounds hopeful, as Mr. Brewster has been hired to sound. But there's a lot riding on what is in these jars of Otomax, and if some of that can be found to have been in Medina Spirit. As recently as April, a Kentucky Derby without at least one Bob-Baffert-trained competition inside was an unimaginable matter in American racing. For the legendary coach, this is going to be a comedown of their very ignominious stripe. New York's gaming commission hasn't yet made a ruling on extending Baffert's banning, nor has California's racing authority. Bottom line: The once-indomitable power of American racing, Bob Baffert, is in a tough place.

According to Churchill's racing principles, even though Medina Spirit's bracing Derby conduct is disqualified -- that is now believed likely but hasn't officially happened -- win bets placed on the theoretical"brand new" Derby winner, placer Mandaloun, won't be honored. The bag is your tote, in Kentucky.

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