'Cancel Culture' Is Off the Hook in Derby Winner's Drug Test

Trainer Bob Baffert says ointment used on Medina Spirit contained steroid
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2021 4:37 PM CDT
'Cancel Culture' Is Off the Hook in Derby Winner's Drug Test
Trainer Bob Baffert checks his stopwatch while watching workouts at Churchill Downs Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Louisville, Ky.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A day after he blamed "cancel culture" for the Kentucky Derby winner he trained flunking a postrace drug test, Bob Baffert has acknowledged that there is a likelier suspect: an ointment that contains the drug Medina Spirit tested positive for. In a statement Tuesday, Baffert said his veterinarian had recommended the antifungal ointment to treat the horse's dermatitis, New York Times reports. "Yesterday, I was informed that one of the substances in Otomax is betamethasone," Baffert said. The trainer said the ointment hasn't been confirmed as the source of the 21 picograms of the steroid found in the postrace sample, but he has been "told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results."

The test result was more than twice the allowed limit—and if a second sample confirms the result, Medina Spirit will be disqualified and runner-up Mandaloun will be declared the winner, officials say. If there was no intent to cheat, it won't affect the disqualification, though it could be a mitigating factor when other penalties are assessed. Dr. Andy Roberts, former president of the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners, tells the Louisville Courier-Journal that Otomax is usually used on dogs and cats with another ointment, Panalog, normally used on racehorses. He says it's possible that the vet "didn’t give proper guidance; maybe they didn’t know the drug could be absorbed." Officials say Medina Spirit will be allowed to enter Saturday's Preakness Stakes race after extra testing, the AP reports. (More Kentucky Derby stories.)

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