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Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit is poised to be stripped of its win after officials confirmed it failed a drug test

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medina spirit
John Velazquez aboard Medina Spirit at the 147th Kentucky Derby. Michael Clevenger-USA TODAY Sports
  • Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby in May, but the horse failed a drug test after the race.

  • Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit's trainer, originally denied the test results but later said Medina Spirit was treated with an ointment containing the product.

  • On Wednesday, Churchill Downs announced that Baffert would be suspended for two years.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit's post-race failed drug test was confirmed by a laboratory at the University of California, Davis, the horse's owner's lawyer told The New York Times.

Medina Spirit is now set to become the second winner in the Kentucky Derby's history to be disqualified for a failed drug test. If disqualified, the Kentucky Derby's runner-up, Mandaloun, will be declared champion.

The only other horse to be disqualified for a failed drug test is Dancer's Image, whose 1968 victory was stripped after a drug test found a banned anti-inflammatory in the horse's system.

Clark Brewster, the lawyer representing Medina Spirit owner Amr Zedan, told The Times that the UC-Davis lab confirmed the presence of a prohibited level of betamethasone, a corticosteroid used to reduce pain and swelling in joints, in Medina Spirit after the May race.

If disqualified, Zedan will be forced to refund his $1.86 million winner's payout.

Medina Spirit's trainer, Bob Baffert, initially denied his horse had tested positive, claiming the horse was a victim of "cancel culture." But he later admitted the test had been positive and was suspended by the New York Racing Association.

In a statement on Wednesday, Churchill Downs, the track that hosts the Kentucky Derby, also suspended Baffert for two years, effective immediately.

"The suspension prohibits Baffert, or any trainer directly or indirectly employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables, from entering horses in races or applying for stall occupancy at all CDI-owned racetracks," the statement read.

Baffert has trained some of the winningest horses in racing history. He's trained seven Kentucky Derby winners in his career, including Triple Crown champions American Pharaoh and Justify.

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