Medina Spirit failed Derby drug test with ointment, not injection, test says

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Legendary horse trainer Bob Baffert was telling the truth when he said his Kentucky Derby-winning horse Medina Spirit was given an ointment that resulted in a failed drug test drug after the race – not by injection.

Dr George Maylin, director of the New York Drug Testing & Research Program, confirmed to lawyers for Baffert that the betamethasone found in the blood of Medina Spirit after the horse won the Kentucky Derby 147 was a topical ointment called Otomax. Maylin confirmed the results with a fractional urine sample taken from the horse after the race.


“In other words, it has now been scientifically proven that what Bob Baffert has said from the start to be true – Medina Spirit never received an injection of betamethasone and the findings that followed the Kentucky Derby were only the result of treating the horse for a skin condition by topical ointment manner – all under the direction of the veterinarian of Medina Spirit, “W. Craig Robertson III, Baffert’s lawyer, said in a statement.

(The story continues below the photo)

Photo showing dermatitis on the back of the Medina Spirit following the Santa Anita derby. Trainer Bob Baffert says the dermatitis was treated with an ointment called Otomax to heal the area and prevent it from spreading.(Source: Bob Baffert)

Robertson testified that Medina Spirit received betamethasone valerate as an ointment; Betamethasone acetate, on the other hand, is administered by injection. The use of the ointment is not a violation of race, he said.

“This should definitely solve the problem in Kentucky and Medina Spirit should remain the official winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby,” said Robertson.

According to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations on drug, medication and substance withdrawal guidelines, intra-articular administration of the drug by injection is prohibited. Betamethasone by injection is not allowed on horses on race day because the anti-inflammatory drug would potentially mask an injury before a race, said the executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC).

The regulations specify: “KRS 230.240 (2) requires the board to promulgate by-laws restricting or prohibiting the administration of drugs or stimulants or other inappropriate acts to horses before the horse participates in a race. … The following have a fourteen (14) day off period for intra-articular injection. Any IA corticosteroid injection within fourteen (14) days is a violation: (i) Betamethasone, via IA administration at a total dose of 9 mg in a single joint space. “

Read the KHRS Medication, Medication and Substance Withdrawal Guidelines here.

WAVE 3 News has contacted Baffert and Churchill Downs for comment. This story will be updated.

Copyright 2021 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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