After the confirmation of a failed drug test for Kentucky Derby-winning horse Medina Spirit, a severe shadow of doubt has been cast over the greatest race that Churchill Downs holds. And accordingly, the racetrack's judgment has come down swiftly upon trainer Bob Baffert.
On Wednesday, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced that Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has been suspended from Churchill Downs for two years, effective immediately and through the conclusion of the racetrack's 2023 Spring Meet. The racetrack's ruling comes after the confirmation of a banned substance, betamethasone, in the bloodstream of Kentucky Derby-winning horse Medina Spirit.
"CDI has consistently advocated for strict medication regulations so that we can confidently ensure that horses are fit to race and the races are conducted fairly," read a statement by Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated. "Reckless practices and substance violations that jeopardize the safety of our equine and human athletes or compromise the integrity of our sport are not acceptable and as a company we must take measures to demonstrate that they will not be tolerated.
"Mr. Baffert's record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby. Given these repeated failures over the last year, including the increasingly extraordinary explanations, we firmly believe that asserting our rights to impose these measures is our duty and responsibility."
Following the confirmation of Medina Spirit's failed drug test, Baffert's horse faces disqualification from the Kentucky Derby, which was run last month. In the event of disqualification, second-place finisher Mandaloun would be declared the winner.