Kentucky Derby winner’s failed drug test

HORSE racing history was made when Medina Spirit, the little horse that could landed the seventh Kentucky Derby win for trainer Bob Baffert and marked the fourth for jockey John Velazquez (see https://pynck.com/2021/05/kentucky-derby.html). But the fairytale on 1 May became a nightmare when the horse that sold as a yearling for just $1,000 tested positive for an excess of anti-inflammatory substance, and the win has since been under question.

The Kentucky Derby win for Medina Spirit has been called into question

While US racing waits for the outcome of further testing on the winner of America’s best known racing event much and more has been written and said about the horse and trainer. Few if any though have the perspective of Irish Field editor Leo Powell, who weighed in with an expert response to the unease caused by the controversy once again swirling around Bob Baffert’s name. Most of all, the editor of the Irish Field, the renowned and venerable racing and horse sports publication in Ireland, names the damage that has been done to racing and indeed, around the world.

Rombauer was winner in the Preakness Stakes outpacing the favourite Medina Spirit

The full editorial is available at https://www.theirishfield.ie/editorial-baffert-case-makes-me-uneasy-622066/ and it is a deeply insightful piece. In full agreement of a presumption of innocence unless proven otherwise this isn’t the first time for controversy to touch Medina Spirit’s trainer, and the thrill of the win for the little horse that could has forever been tarnished.

Whether he likes it or not, because of his success and talent Bob Baffert is a role model, a figurehead for all the racegoers who have ever considered being racing syndicate owners. The same applies to all who look to a future in competitive horse sports.

Leo Powell, Editor of The Irish Field

In closing his editorial, Leo Powell said it best: “The damage to the sport is huge, and this obviously talented trainer needs to be more contrite, and more fully appreciate the role he plays and the importance of his actions, or indeed inactions.”

Medina Spirit, backed at odds of 2 to 1 in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of America’s Triple Crown of racing went on to lose to the 11 to 1 horse, Rambauer on 15 May.

No matter the outcome of further testing on Medina Spirit for the Kentucky Derby win, the tarnish has been cast.

 

Image credits: Sky Sports, The Irish Field

Kim Mullahey

Kim Mullahey is Pynck.com’s Ireland Correspondent. She holds an honours undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Chicago and has taught Adult Education Creative Writing Studies. Through a media career spanning nearly 25 years Kim has written and photographed regional news, national and international horse sports, fashion and lifestyle. Kim lives with her husband and son in Kildare Ireland, and a stray marmalade cat who has adopted the family.

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