Medina Spirit to race in Preakness, lawyer says

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit will race in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes after an agreement was reached after Bob Baffert agreed to prerace blood testing, monitoring and medical review, the trainer’s attorney announced Tuesday.

The oversight will also apply for the Baffert-trained horse Concert Tour, according to attorney W. Craig Robertson III.

Robertson wrote in a letter to the attorney for the Maryland Jockey Club that detailed the agreement that Baffert “consents to the public release of this letter and all testing results.”

Earlier Tuesday, Baffert said in a statement that Medina Spirit was treated with an antifungal ointment containing the steroid betamethasone that caused the horse to fail a postrace drug test. Concert Tour did not race in the Derby.

In a statement issued earlier Tuesday by his lawyer, Baffert said Medina Spirit was treated for dermatitis with the ointment once a day leading up to the May 1 race, and equine pharmacology experts have told him this could explain the test results. Baffert said the horse tested positive for 21 picograms of the substance, which is typically given to horses therapeutically to help their joints and is a violation even at a trace amount on race day in Kentucky.

“Medina Spirit earned his Kentucky Derby win, and my pharmacologists have told me that 21 picograms of betamethasone would have had no effect on the outcome of the race,” Baffert said in his earlier statement Tuesday. “Medina Spirit is a deserved champion, and I will continue to fight for him.”

Regardless of the reason, Medina Spirit would be disqualified from the Derby if a second round of testing shows the presence of betamethasone. Derby runner-up Mandaloun would be elevated to winner. It is unknown how long Kentucky officials will take to determine whether the results of the Derby should stand or will change.

Medina Spirit’s failed drug test is the fifth medication violation in the past 13 months for Baffert, a two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer and the face of the sport. Winning the Preakness with Medina Spirit or Concert Tour would give Baffert a record eighth victory in that race, breaking a tie with 19th-century trainer R.W. Walden.

Except for 2020, when the Triple Crown races were run out of order, Baffert is undefeated with the Derby winner in the Preakness.

Baffert is not attending the Preakness Stakes, as he said he does not want to be a distraction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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