Trainer Says Kentucky Derby Winner Was Given Ointment Containing Steroid

By Bill Galluccio

May 11, 2021

Hall of Fame horse trainer Bob Baffert said that Medina Spirit was treated with an ointment that contained a drug that resulted in a positive drug test following the Kentucky Derby.

After Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby, a drug test revealed the horse had 21 picograms of Betamethasone in its blood, well over the limit of 11. Officials are waiting for the results of a second blood sample before making the decision to strip Medina Spirit of his victory. That process, which includes the opportunity for Baffert to appeal the decision, could take over six months.

Baffert, who was suspended by the Kentucky Derby, initially claimed the drug test was wrong and that the horse he trained was not treated with Betamethasone.

On Tuesday, Baffert admitted that it was possible that the positive test was the result of ointment prescribed to treat dermatitis.

"Following the Santa Anita Derby, Medina Spirit developed dermatitis on his hind end. I had him checked out by my veterinarian, who recommended the use of an anti-fungal ointment called Otomax. The veterinary recommendation was to apply this ointment daily to give the horse relief, help heal the dermatitis and prevent it from spreading," Baffert said in the statement.

Baffert added that he was unaware that the ointment could cause the positive test and said he was releasing the information to be transparent during the investigation.

"While we do not know definitively that this was the source of the alleged 21 picograms found in Medina Spirit's post-race blood sample, and our investigation is continuing, I have been told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results. As such, I wanted to be forthright about this fact as soon as I learned of this information," Baffert added.

Photo: Getty Images

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