What some folks believed was a foregone conclusion became a reality today; the late MEDINA SPIRIT was disqualified by the state’s stewards from his position as Winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby.
The ruling was posted Monday after a stewards hearing via Zoom last week.
Trainer Bob Baffert was suspended from racing in Kentucky for 90 days, to begin March 8th and end June 5th, and was fined $7,500.
MEDINA SPIRIT led the entire way in the May 1st race, crossing the wire first, to give Baffert what was a record seventh Kentucky Derby Win.
But eight days after the race, Baffert announced that the Derby Winning colt had tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory that is banned on race day in Kentucky.
After initially denying any use of betamethasone, Baffert later admitted to the use of Otomax, a cream he said was used to treat a skin condition.
The positive test and its aftermath led to Baffert being suspended from Churchill Downs for two years and rendered his horses unable to earn Kentucky Derby or Oaks points or compete in either race.
If the ruling is upheld, MANDALOUN would become the official Winner of the 2021 Derby, giving trainer Brad Cox his first Win in the Run For The Roses.
In a statement issued Monday, Churchill Downs congratulated MANDALOUN and his connections:
“Today Churchill Downs recognizes MANDALOUN as the Winner of the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby and extends our congratulations to owner/breeder Juddmonte Farms, trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux,” the news release read. “Winning the Kentucky Derby is one of the most exciting achievements in sports and we look forward to celebrating MANDALOUN on a future date in a way that is fitting of this rare distinction.”
The disqualification news came two months after MEDINA SPIRIT died of a suspected heart attack following a workout at Santa Anita in December.
The final cause of death was to be determined by a necropsy. The results of that exam were made public on Friday, with no certain cause of death noted.
Pari-mutuel wagering results of the tainted Derby were not impacted by Monday’s ruling.