Medina Spirit, Kentucky Derby winner, dies after Santa Anita workout

December 6, 2021
Medina Spirit, Kentucky Derby winner, dies after Santa Anita workout
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Disputed Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit died Monday morning after a workout at Santa Anita Park.

“It is with great sadness that I am reporting Medina Spirit passed away today from a heart attack at Santa Anita following a workout,” trainer Bob Baffert said in a statement. “My entire barn is devastated by this news. Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we are deeply mourning his loss. I will always cherish the proud and personal memories of Medina Spirit and his tremendous spirit. Our most sincere condolences go out to Mr. Amr Zedan and the entire Zedan Racing Stables family. They are in our thoughts and prayers as we go through this difficult time.”

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Medina Spirit’s victory in the May 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is being contested.

Trainer Bob Baffert announced May 9 that Medina Spirit had tested positive for 21 picograms of betamethasone, which is a permitted therapeutic unless found in the blood on race day. Later that day, Churchill Downs announced Medina Spirit would be disqualified as the Kentucky Derby winner if the horse’s positive drug test was confirmed.

Last week, Baffert’s lawyer Craig Robertson released a statement that testing of the split urine sample of Medina Spirit has been completed and the results have definitively confirmed that the betamethasone present in Medina Spirit’s system following the Derby did come from the topical ointment Otomax and not an injection. 

“In other words, it has now been scientifically proven that what Bob Baffert said from the beginning was true – Medina Spirit was never injected with betamethasone and the findings following the Kentucky Derby were solely the result of the horse being treated for a skin condition by way of a topical ointment – all at the direction of Medina Spirit’s veterinarian,” Robertson’s statement said.

Since the controversial Kentucky Derby win, Medina Spirit has raced four times. The colt finished third in the Preakness Stakes and second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic

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