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Medina Spirit stripped of 2021 Winning the Kentucky Derby

Medina Spirit is no longer the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby. The foal, who died unexpectedly in December, was officially disqualified from participation by Kentucky racing officials on Monday for failing. in the drug test after winning America’s greatest race.

Medina Spirit is only the third horse in the race’s 147-year history to enjoy such a penalty after finishing first. The decision means that the foal’s owner, Amr Zedan, will not collect the first check for $1.8 million, which has never been paid and now belongs to the owner. of Mandaloun, Juddmonte, a livestock and racing business founded by Prince Khalid bin Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. , who died last year. It also erased coach Bob Baffert’s seventh record win at the Kentucky Derby.

Additionally, Baffert was suspended for 90 days from March 8 and fined $7,500. The ruling came after a hearing via Zoom on February 14 before a three-member governing board of the Kentucky Horse Racing Association.

The drug found in Medina Spirit’s system is betamethasone, a corticosteroid that is injected into a joint to reduce pain and swelling. Baffert and his attorneys refuse to inject the puppy and states that the drug is used topically to treat a skin rash on the posterior end of Medina Spirit.

Neither Baffert nor his attorneys were available for comment. Both the coach and his legal team have said they will appeal the ruling before the equestrian commission in an administrative hearing. They have also said that they will pursue all remedies in the court system.

The disqualification puts a new stain on a sport plagued by doping problems and puts Baffert’s reputation and future in the sport in jeopardy. Baffert, horses that won the Triple Crown in 2015 and 2018, are thoroughbred horse racing of most recognizable character.

The Kentucky race officials’ decision comes at a time when the Triple Crown season is heating up and the quest for qualifying points to secure a spot at Derby’s starting gate is becoming more pressing. Churchill Downs, the organizer of the Derby, suspended Baffert from racing for two years and refused to award qualifying points to the horses he trained.

He has three of the most accomplished 3-year-old ponies in his stable – two of them, Corniche and Newgrange, are undefeated. If their owners want to participate in the Derby, they must transfer their horses to another trainer and hope to earn qualifying points in future prep races.

Last month, Baffert threatened to sue Churchill Downs if the track in Louisville, Ky., did not lift a two-year ban, saying his rights had been violated and he had been disqualified from Churchill Downs and Derby. illegal, according to a wide-ranging draft legal complaint obtained by The New York Times. The complaint has not been filed.

Bill Carstanjen, chief executive of Churchill Downs, said the complaint was “unhelpful,” threatened to protest if it is filed and insists that Baffert is a repeat offender. At the 2020 Kentucky Oaks, the national top race for 3-year-olds, Baffert-trained fat Gamine tested positive for the same substance as Medina Spirit after finishing third. In total, Baffert’s horses have failed 30 drug tests over four decades, including five in the recent 13 months.

Carstanjen told the Times: “This threatened lawsuit is another tactic from Mr. Baffert’s good book to obfuscate the facts, make excuses for a positive drug test result and try to dump it. blame others to avoid responsibility for their actions.

New York racing officials have sought to ban Baffert from the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga, alleging in a recent hearing that the coach engaged in conduct that was prejudicial to racing’s best interests. to the health and safety of horses and jockeys, as well as its business. .

Autopsy results for Medina Spirit, who died in December of an apparent heart attack after a well-timed practice session at Santa Anita Park, were inconclusive but showed that the foal died from a likely concussion. heart attack. California racing officials said hair, blood and urine samples showed no evidence of doping.

The disqualification, along with recent confessions and convictions by prominent trainers and veterinarians for doping horses, shows the urgency for enforcement. Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

It is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2022, and calls for a panel overseen by the Federal Trade Commission to write rules and penalties so that the US Anti-Doping Agency, the regulator Olympic managers and other elite athletes in the United States. . Organ revealed the cheating behavior of cyclist Lance Armstrong and issued a life ban in 2012.

However, the role of USADA is uncertain because the Horseracing Safety and Integrity Authority, the agency responsible for creating the framework and budget for enforcement, was unable to reach an agreement with the agency. this. The agency is exploring other options for an enforcement agency, but has indicated it could attempt to reopen negotiations with USADA.

With Medina Spirit’s clear victory at Churchill Downs last year, Baffert took his seventh win at the Kentucky Derby, surpassing the record set by Ben Jones, who last won it in 1952.

However, Baffert and Medina Spirit instead joined Maximum Security and Dancer’s Image as the only horses to overturn the victory in the Derby.

In 2019, Maximum Security crossed the finish line for the first time, only disqualified for nearly knocking down an opponent’s horse stay far away and slow down the momentum of the others. The following year, Maximum Security’s coach, Jason Servis, was among the 27 people charged by federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging scheme to secretly use dope horses and defraud the betting public. He is awaiting trial.

In 1968, Dancer’s Image’s victory was forfeited after a drug test revealed the presence of a banned anti-inflammatory agent. That case dragged on in the courts for four years before the final removal of the condition was upheld.

There could be more litigation after the Medina Spirit ruling. The bets were not taken entirely by Kentucky’s decision.

While Medina Spirit supporters on the first Saturday of May 2021, kept their winnings, Mandaloun supporters still forfeited their tickets.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/21/sports/horse-racing/medina-spirit-kentucky-derby.html Medina Spirit stripped of 2021 Winning the Kentucky Derby

Fry Electronics Team

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