Medina Spirit has been stripped of his 2021 Kentucky Derby title, officials announced Monday. Leaving the now deceased animal officially disqualified following a hearing that took place last week. Kentucky horse racing officials released a statement saying, Medina Spirit did have the banned substance betamethasone in his blood on race day, highly banned substance within the racing community.
Officials also announced Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit’s trainer, has now been suspended 90 days from all Kentucky racing facilities and fined $7,500 because of the findings.
Baffert will have the opportunity to appeal the ban — which officials said will last from March 8 through June 5. The ruling means Baffert will now have to win another Derby title to regain the crown of winningest trainer in the race’s history (Medina Spirit’s victory had given him seven total).
Unfortunately, Medina Spirit died suddenly at Santa Anita race track in December. The horse’s preliminary cause of death was ruled as a heart attack. At the time Baffert stated that his barn was “devastated” by the news of Medina Spirit’s death, and described the horse as a “member of the family. It’s not clear if the horse’s positive betamethasone test played any role in the death.
As for the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner, Second-place finisher Mandaloun will now be recognized as the race’s winner going forward.