LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL | 20th July 2021
by TIM SULLIVAN
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission filed a status report and motion for order on Monday in the Medina Spirit case, reports the Courier-Journal, requesting that Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate compel trainer Bob Baffert’s attorneys to disclose results of testing on a urine sample the court had ordered sent to the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Laboratory. The KHRC is alleging “lack of candor and contemptuous conduct by the New York Laboratory, plaintiffs, or both.”
Judge Wingate issued a written decision on June 16 regarding plans for the remaining urine sample of Kentucky Derby first place finisher Medina Spirit. The decision follows a June 11 hearing in Franklin County Circuit Court, in which Judge Wingate determined that the legal team for Medina Spirit’s connections will be permitted to do extra testing on a urine sample (the “split sample”) taken from the colt after the Kentucky Derby and held by the KHRC.
The case is based on the finding of betamethasone in a post-race sample of Medina Spirit, collected immediately after the colt crossed the wire first in the Kentucky Derby.
Counsel for Medina Spirit’s trainer Bob Baffert and owner Zedan Stables filed a civil suit against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on June 7 demanding their right to test the split urine sample, which sat undisturbed in the commission’s freezer. Remnants of the original biologic samples were initially sent to be tested for those ingredients, but they were reportedly damaged before arrival at the plaintiffs’ choice of labs.
Judge Wingate ordered June 16 that the remaining urine sample be flown to the plaintiffs’ choice of lab for testing, the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Laboratory, that two KHRC representatives travel with the sample, and that plaintiffs fund the flight. Upon arrival, the KHRC was to retain 5 milliliters of the sample, while the remainder was to be tested for clotrimazole, gentamicin, and betamethasone valerate.
On July 14, the sample was flown to New York accompanied by Dr. Clara Fenger and Tom Huckeby, representing Baffert and Medina Spirit’s owner, Amr Zedan, as well as by KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil and equine medical director Dr. Bruce Howard.
The July 19 filing by the KHRC alleges that the urine sample was split into four milliliter and 19 milliliter segments, with the New York lab to retain the larger segment for testing. Program director Dr. George Maylin attempted to then retain the remnants of the original urine sample, which was contaminated during shipment, claiming he was unaware that the court order required those remnants be turned over to the KHRC.
When the remnants were turned over to KHRC representatives, the filing alleges that the urine tube contained only one to two milliliters of “bloody fluid,” a broken serum separator tube, and another tube with serum that had been saved — all presented at room temperature instead of frozen. Guifoil and Howard report that Dr. Maylin said most of the sample had been used up in testing, but would not indicate what testing was performed.
“We will be formally responding to the Court,” Baffert’s attorney, Craig Robertson, told the Courier-Journal. “The statements contained in the KHRC’s status report are inaccurate. We have intentionally had no direct communication with the New York lab, so we are unaware of any testing or the results. This will be detailed in our response.”
Read full report at the Lousiville Courier-Journal »
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Featured Image: Medina Spirit covered in roses. Kentucky Derby Website.
Tuesday’s Horse © Fund for Horses