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.
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.
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.
“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.