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Horse racing-Baffert defiant after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit fails drug test

05/10/2021 13:38
Horse racing-Baffert defiant after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit fails drug test

- A defiant Bob Baffert declared his innocence during a Fox News segment on Monday, after his Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a drug test and Churchill Downs suspended him from entering horses at its famed racetrack.

"We did not cheat to win the Kentucky Derby," said Baffert, adding that he plans to run the horse at the Preaknesss Stakes - the second of three races in the legendary Triple Crown series - on Saturday.

A post-race sample provided by Medina Spirit tested positive for 21 picograms of the anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone, violating Kentucky racing regulations and prompting a fierce rebuke from Churchill Downs. nL1N2MW0D5

If the finding is upheld, officials will invalidate the horse's Kentucky Derby win.

Medina Spirit is expected to arrive at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course on Monday, despite lingering questions over whether the horse would even be allowed to run.

The Preakness Stakes said in a written statement posted to social media that it was consulting with the Maryland Racing Commission regarding Medina Spirit's entry.

"We are committed to achieving the highest level of horse care and safety standards, and we have a proven track record of pushing those standards forward," the statement read.

Baffert is one of the highest-profile figures in the world of professional horse racing, having trained a record seven Kentucky Derby winners including American Pharoah, who in 2015 became the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown.

His horses have failed five drug tests in just over a year, drawing outcry from animal rights group PETA as the sport itself fends off scrutiny in the United States over widespread drug use.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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