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Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was suspended indefinitely from racing at Churchill Downs after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for the anti-inflammatory steroid betamethasone, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported on Sunday.
Baffert, who announced that he plans to head up his own investigation into the allegations, went on Fox News Monday morning claiming that he and the horse are a victim of “cancel culture.”
“With all the noise going out, we live in a different world now,” Baffert said to Fox News. His comments came after being asked his thoughts on if Medina Spirit will run in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on May 15.
“This America is different and it was like a ‘cancel culture’ kind of a thing. So they’re reviewing it.”
Cancel culture became a popular phrase during the 2020 elections, and is defined as the “practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure,” according to Merriam-Webster.
The Herald-Leader said that horses trained under Baffert have “failed at least 29 drug tests in his four-decade career. In addition to Medina Spirit, Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002), American Pharoah (2015), Justify (2018) and Authentic (2020).”
During a news conference at Churchill Downs on Sunday, Baffert said that the Kentucky Racing Commission told his assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes that Medina Spirit tested positive for 21 picograms of the steroid post race.
“I don’t know what’s going on in racing right now, but there’s something not right,” Baffert said. “I don’t feel embarrassed, I feel like I was wronged. We’re going to do our own investigation. We’re going to be transparent with the racing commission like we’ve always been. […] This horse was never treated with this. He’s a great horse. He doesn’t deserve this.”
Medina Spirit’s second drug test, which is required by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to disqualify a horse, and the results can take days, or weeks, to come back, USA Today reports.
Baffert said he plans to run Medina Spirit in the upcoming Preakness.
Preakness officials announced that they will decide if Medina Spirit races in the second leg of the Triple Crown, the New York Times said.