Derby Drug Bust: Thoroughbred On Roids Could See Victory Revoked
Winner of the famed Kentucky Derby on May 1st, the thoroughbred Medina Spirit, could have its victory removed after failing a post-race drug test, it was revealed Sunday. The growing scandal included Churchhill Downs taking the dramatic action of immediately suspending Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert over suspicions he’s been doping horses for years.
Apparently “horse doping” is pervasive and the sport has lately tried to crack down on such injury-masking & performance-enhancing drugs: “Baffert is a Hall of Fame horse trainer, but five of his horses have fail drug tests in about the past year, while the sport’s leaders have vowed to crack down on horse doping, per AP,” Axios writes.
Specifically the doping allegation stems from an illegal amount of a type of steroid typically used on horses to mitigate pain and swelling called betamethasone. Apparently it was double the limit allowed for the Kentucky Derby.
The controversy is expected to be prolonged given Baffert is challenging the allegation, saying he’ll fight the Churchhill Downs ruling “tooth and nail” – and the fact that a winning horse hasn’t faced disqualification over doping since 1968. He said in a statement, “I got the biggest gut-punch in racing, for something I didn’t do.”
As to whether the title will be stripped altogether, the race organization had this to say:
“Churchill Downs will not tolerate it,” the statement said. “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. To be clear, if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner.“
If a further test confirms the initial drug test results, Medina Spirit will be disqualified, which has many naturally wondering how such a decision would impact betting and settling results. In recent years total gambling on the Kentucky Derby has reached well over $150 million changing hands.
Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert — the Lance Armstrong of horse racing — won today’s Kentucky Derby. Watching it, all I could think of was the @joedrape story from 2020 below. So many failed doping tests. So much suspicion. https://t.co/Bqaj4dLYhy
— Juliet Macur (@JulietMacur) May 2, 2021
Partly at issue here is that Baffert’s horses have failed about 30 drug tests in the past four decades, according to The New York Times, resulting in an avalanche of accusations from competitors for decades.
Sun, 05/09/2021 – 19:55