Smiling Bob Baffert.

Derby winner Medina Spirit tests positive for regulated drug, trainer Bob Baffert says he’ll fight it

Well, well, well. Bob Baffert is under serious scrutiny once again. However, “Teflon Bob” may not get away with it this time.

Medina Spirit, the Bob Baffert-trained horse who won the 2021 Kentucky Derby, tested positive for a regulated drug, betamethasone, putting Baffert’s 7th Kentucky Derby win under a black cloud.

Look at this. You can’t make this stuff up.

Yahoo Sports reports:

He said that he’ll be fighting the test and will be sending Medina Spirit to the Preakness, which is being run in less than a week.

However, Baffert heavily implied that he believes he’s being set up or targeted — by who or what he wouldn’t say. Medina Spirit is the only horse that ran the Derby to test positive, which he implied was suspicious. Baffert also said that he “doesn’t feel safe to train” knowing something like this could happen.

He “doesn’t feel safe to train”? Baffert should go on the stage. In the meantime . . . .

This is the second time in seven months that a Baffert horse has tested positive for betamethasone. Gamine tested positive for the same substance in Oct. 2020. Baffert offered an explanation for that and didn’t deny that Gamine had been administered the drug.

Baffert also mentioned Justify, the horse he trained that won the Triple Crown in 2018. Justify tested positive for a regulated substance before he ran the Kentucky Derby, though it wasn’t announced until later. The positive test was blamed on contaminated feed and dismissed, and it didn’t affect Justify’s eligibility.

Baffert used that positive test to again cast himself as the victim of some larger conspiracy, saying “It just seems odd, why am I the only trainer with these positives?” What the . . . ?

And if Medina Spirit’s win is thrown out?

 If the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner.

Baffert will have a chance to appeal the case, which could take months to adjudicate.

In the meantime, Churchill Downs — the site of the Kentucky Derby — has banned Baffert from entering horses in any event at the racetrack.

Dancer’s Image

The only horse to be disqualified for medication after winning the Derby is Dancer’s Image in 1968. Dancer’s Image was disqualified three days after the race after phenylbutazone was detected in his system. However, the findings were contested. The case dragged on for four years until it was finally confirmed that Dancer’s Image, who had finished first, had illegal drugs in his system. 2nd place finisher Forward Pass became the winner.

“The theory was put forward that Dancer’s Image had been drugged by nefarious characters who objected to his owner Peter Fuller’s support for civil rights,” writes Victor Mather for the New York Times. “Medina Spirit’s trainer, Bob Baffert, said he did not drug his horse and that he and his team did not know who might have done it.”

Oh, you slipped up there Bob. The horse was drugged you just don’t know who done it. Sigh.

Teflon time for Bob yet again

So will the charges stick, or will Teflon Bob get away with yet another major racehorse drugging episode? If he does, we believe it will deal horse racing a severe blow — one it may find difficult to survive.

In the meantime, Baffert is heading to the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, with his Kentucky Derby first place finisher, Medina Spirit.

Dan Wolcan, writing for USA Today, opines:

“For now, Baffert is still a seven-time Kentucky Derby winner trainer — with a big asterisk next to his latest triumph and a cloud so ominous over his powerhouse barn that it will be difficult to view his success the same way ever again.”

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

13 thoughts on “Derby winner Medina Spirit tests positive for regulated drug, trainer Bob Baffert says he’ll fight it”

  1. Frankly, I believe Bob Baffert.I hope he can clear this up.Why would he risk his reputation and carreer? Regards, Chris


  2. My fondest hope is to see the Teflon BB doing the perp walk wearing ‘cuffs. The sooner, the better. His denials, all delivered with a smirk that would have been the envy of many a Mafia don, remind me of the “oh honey please come home we miss you” scripted pleas spouted on TV by homicidal husbands.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well said.
      Your fondest hope is shared by many, many people. Even racing people.
      The worst part is the impact these drugs have on racehorses and what it means for their future. Not a single human connected with these poor horses could give a toss so long as they have a chance, no matter how slight, of winning. It almost always comes at the expense of the horse’s short and long term well being.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I remember my first encounter with race people. Yes, I am indeed going to tar them all with the same brush, and I absolutely am not sorry to do so. Back then, I needed access to a track to condition an eventing prospect who was already a spectacular jumper but really hadn’t caught the “omg I can run!!!” clue. Of course the other boarders were all race trainers (who made a lot of nasty comments to me for doing the then-new protocol of interval conditioning plus using a heart rate monitor). There was an older race gelding that I fell totally in love with, he was aging out at 9 years and falling back into claiming race territory and not very successfully at that. He was a lovely horse, old style TB like ones used to be seen in the “heavy hunter” classes in the old AHSA competitions (now that there are “hunter futurities” and the USEF you never see anything competing but ultra-refined horses, even the warmbloods have refined), a lot of bone, a lot of substance. Gorgeous, and very sweet, very people-oriented, and was still sound with fairly clean legs. I offered many times to purchase him as a hunter prospect. The owners were so pissed at him for not winning and not being claimed that they informed me they were going to send him to the kill buyers and would not sell him to me. They said they wanted him “punished.” The day he was shipped to the auction I think I cried all day and part of the next and to this day, three decades later, I still think of him and mourn. And, BTW, the wife of the trainer was an official something or other in the Washington State Racing Commission. Just shows you how far back the corruption and cruelty went.


        1. Oh, Alexis, what a sad, sad and tragic story. Wanting a horse punished by sending him to slaughter. This is beyond heartless and shows just how filthy and cruel horse racing and the people in it are.
          Thank you for sharing this so that people who still have any doubt how filthy and corrupt horses racing is, may finally see it in its true light.


    1. be careful Caro, your sarcasm might be misinterpreted by the great unwashed LOL. BTW, I’ve been banned by Racenet for daring to post a glaring error by Clinton McDonald in which he wrote that Dreamforce won the recent QE Stakes. Cheers from your good friend grunter! PS if you want to communicate with me, do so via


  3. This business is full of multiple doping violators who have a long list of dead racehorses under their names.
    As a former owner/trainer who invested over 1 million into this business thinking that there was a level playing field – laughable.
    I often break into fits of laughter when I think about how naive I was and we bought the Derby dream hook, line and sinker.
    So do many others who invest in this business only to find out that it’s a complete lie perpetrated on unsuspecting people by selling them a dream that they don’t have a hope in hell of being part of, let alone winning, because of cheaters like Baffert, Pletcher, Asmusen and others.
    You would pretty much have to shove plutonium rocket fuel up your racehorse’s ass in order to win against these doping cocktails let alone the fact that they are never held accountable in a meaningful way.
    I’ve known Trainers with 1 Bute overage who got suspended so it becomes clear that there are 2 systems in place .
    One for the ole all-white boys club and the rest.
    Above all of this though are thousands of innocent, non-consenting racehorses who are the true victims and they endure a living hell to flip a buck for this vile business and that’s why we ultimately left.
    Will Baffert finally get his just desserts?
    That remains to be seen, but no sympathy here.

    Liked by 3 people

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