Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit fails post-race drug test

The horse that won the 2021 Kentucky Derby last weekend at Churchill Downs, Medina Spirit, has failed a post-race drug test. Trainer Bob Baffert spoke to reporters on Sunday and denied that Medina Spirit had ever been treated with betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug that the horse tested positive for. Baffert said, “Yesterday I got the biggest gut punch in racing for something that I didn’t do,” adding that the drug test was an “injustice to the horse.”

Churchill Downs suspended Baffert from entering horses at the track. A second positive test, called a “split sample,” is required before a horse can be disqualified, as the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations state. 

Churchill Downs said in a statement that if the findings remain true, Medina Spirit will be disqualified and Mandaloun, the runner-up, will be declared the winner. Medina Spirit won the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 1, defeating 19 other horses to secure the win. The victory was also historic for Baffert, who broke the record for most Derby wins with seven.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tests positive for anti-inflammatory drug, Bob Baffert calls it ‘biggest gut punch in racing’


Editorial credit: Cheryl Ann Quigley /