The first leg of the 2021 Triple Crown was marred by a major controversy, as Kentucky Derby-winning horse Medina Spirit's victory was jeopardized by a failed post-race drug test. While trainer Bob Baffert has drawn his sword to try and defend his horse's title, there will still be a presence of Baffert-trained horses at this Saturday's Preakness Stakes.
According to a report by Eric Crawford of WDRB, Bob Baffert's attorney has shared that an agreement has been reached to allow both Medina Spirit and another Baffert-trained horse, Concert Tour, to compete in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
In a statement, Baffert's attorney Craig Robertson said that "several conditions" are in place to allow the horses to race, namely pre-race drug testing that both horses will have to pass and clear.
One week after the first race of the Triple Crown, Medina Spirit's victory in the Kentucky Derby was called into question on Sunday when Baffert, a Hall of Fame trainer, announced that his horse had failed a drug test for an excessive amount of the steroid betamethasone.
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After initially blaming his subsequent suspension from Churchill Downs on "cancel culture" during an appearance on Fox News, Baffert released a Tuesday statement explaining that he believed Medina Spirit's failed drug test stemmed from the use of the anti-fungal ointment Otomax in order to treat dermatitis.
"Yesterday, I was informed that one of the substances in Otomax is betamethasone," read Baffert's statement. "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."
While Baffert's horses compete at Preakness, Medina Spirit's Kentucky Derby title will be contingent on the confirmation of the horse's failed drug test and subsequent appeals. Should Medina Spirit be disqualified, second-place finisher Mandaloun would be declared the winner of the Kentucky Derby.
While his two horses compete at the Preakness this weekend, Baffert will not travel to the race in order to keep from being a "distraction."
"I don't want to take away from the horses. I think it'd be a distraction if I went. I think it'd be a distraction if I win," said Baffert in a report by ESPN. "The owners will be there. [Assistant trainer] Jimmy [Barnes] can handle it."