- The horse who won the Kentucky Derby tested positive for a banned drug called betamethasone.
- The horse and his trainer are facing the loss of their title and suspension, pending a second test.
- Donald Trump called the horse a “junky” and said the cheating is due to the 2020 election results.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Legendary racehorse trainer Bob Baffert announced that his Kentucky Derby-winning horse, Medina Spirit, tested positive for a banned drug on Sunday.
Doping in horse racing is an issue that dates back many years. However, former President Donald Trump cited a social decline in the aftermath of the 2020 election results as the cause for this particular instance.
“So now even our Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, is a junky,” Trump wrote on his new blogging platform DonaldJTrump.com. “This is emblematic of what is happening to our Country. The whole world is laughing at us as we go to hell on our Borders, our fake Presidential Election, and everywhere else!”
Trump has gone on record calling the 2020 election “the greatest fraud in the history of our country from an electoral standpoint” and has raised several accusations of voter fraud, all of which have been debunked.
However, during a Fox News segment on Monday, Baffert responded to the public backlash he and his horse received, citing cancel culture as the cause.
-Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) May 10, 2021
“We live in a different world now, this America is different, and it was like a cancel culture kind of a thing,” Baffert said.
A test following the horse’s victory on May 1 revealed that it had 21 picograms of betamethasone in its system.
Betamethasone is a corticosteroid and can be used to “relieve redness, itching, swelling or other discomforts caused by certain skin conditions,” according to Mayo Clinic. It is legal in Kentucky as a therapeutic, but testing positive on a race day is a violation.
“I was totally shocked when I heard this news,” Baffert said at the Sunday news conference. “I am the most scrutinized trainer. And I am OK with that. The last thing I want to do is something that would jeopardize the greatest sport. I’m worried about the sport. This is a pretty serious accusation. We’re going to get to the bottom of it. We didn’t do it … There’s problems in racing. But it’s not Bob Baffert,”
Churchill Downs, the horse racing complex that hosts the Kentucky Derby every year, has suspended Baffert from entering horses at the track after Sunday’s announcement. However, a second positive test – called a “split sample” – is required before the suspension is upheld and the horse is disqualified.
If the split sample comes back positive, Baffert and Medina Spirit will have their title stripped, and the runner-up, Mandaloun, will be declared the winner. Medina Spirit would become the third horse in the 147-year history of the race to receive such a penalty after finishing first.
In September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act to prevent these scandals in thoroughbred horse racing.