Derby Winner Medina Spirit Dies After Workout

Trainer Bob Baffert says colt, which tested positive for a steroid after derby, had heart attack
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 6, 2021 12:56 PM CST
Derby Winner Medina Spirit Dies After Workout
John Velazquez atop Medina Spirit competes during the 146th Preakness Stakes at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course in May.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit collapsed and died after a workout Monday at California's Santa Anita track, per the AP. The 3-year-old colt trained by Bob Baffert had just completed five furlongs in his second workout since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic a month ago at Del Mar, according to Craig Robertson, Baffert’s attorney. Baffert said in a statement that the horse suffered a heart attack. “My entire barn is devastated,” Baffert said. “Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we are deeply mourning his loss.”

Santa Anita released a statement saying the track veterinary team took blood, hair, and urine samples from Medina Spirit and sent them to the California Horse Racing Board. The colt will undergo a full necropsy, as required by the racing board, to try to determine the exact cause of death. After the May 1 Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, a legal medication that is not allowed on race day. In the wake of the failed test, Baffert was suspended by Churchill Downs and barred from entering horses in the 2022 and 2023 derbies. He also was banned by the New York Racing Association from entering horses at its Belmont, Saratoga, and Aqueduct tracks.

Last Friday, Robertson released a statement saying that tests done by a New York lab confirmed that Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid, but he said it was not through an injection but from an ointment used to treat a skin rash. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has been investigating the case, and has yet to hold a hearing that could possibly disqualify Medina Spirit. In the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic, Medina Spirit couldn’t muster the necessary late kick to threaten winner Knicks Go. Medina Spirit had five wins in 10 career starts and earnings of $3,545,200, according to Equibase. The colt was owned by Amr Zedan, who competes as Zedan Racing Stables.

(More Medina Spirit stories.)

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