Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit dies just months after failed drug test controversy

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Medina Spirit
Medina Spirit ridden by jockey John Velazquez, leads the field to the first turn during the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 01, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.Sarah Stier/Getty Images
  • Race horse Medina Spirit, who won the 2021 Kentucky Derby, died on Monday.

  • Trainer Bob Baffert said the horse died from a heart attack after a workout.

  • Medina Spirit's Kentucky Derby win was hit with controversy amid post-race failed drug tests.

Racehorse Medina Spirit, whose first-place finish at the 2021 Kentucky Derby was marred in controversy after a failed drug test, died on Monday after a workout on a California track.

"It is with great sadness that I am reporting Medina Spirit passed away today from a heart attack at Santa Anita following a workout," trainer Bob Baffert said of the 3-year-old colt in a statement to The Washington Post.

"My entire barn is devastated by this news. Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we are deeply mourning his loss," he added. "I will always cherish the proud and personal memories of Medina Spirit and his tremendous spirit."

Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug used to reduce pain and swelling in joints, following the May 1 Kentucky Derby earlier this year.

The horse was never stripped of its win, but Baffert was suspended by the New York Racing Association, pending an investigation into the positive test.

An investigation was still ongoing when Medina Spirit died on Monday.

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