Medina Spirit’s KY Derby Participation ‘Folly’
Scientist says horse should not have been allowed to run after treatment with Otomax.
THE BLOODHORSE reports:
(28 June 22, 1:04 pm) — Dr. George Maylin, a New York scientific expert who tested post-race urine from Medina Spirit after the 2021 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs and reported he found elements of the anti-fungal ointment Otomax, said during a June 10 deposition it was folly to allow the horse to run in the Derby after treatment with the cream.
After the Derby, split blood samples from Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit shipped to Industrial Laboratories and the University of California, Davis, indicated the presence of 21 and 25 picograms of betamethasone per milliliter of blood, respectively. Betamethasone, a corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory properties, can be used as a therapeutic medication but is not permitted in a horse’s system on race day in Kentucky.
Trainer Bob Baffert initially insisted betamethasone could not have been administered by anyone in his stable, but after a couple of days, the trainer announced it may have come from a topical application of Otomax, a skin rash salve, to the colt’s hindquarters. According to Baffert’s testimony in a New York disciplinary hearing, Southern California veterinarian Dr. Vince Baker prescribed Otomax for treatment after a couple of shampoos did not solve the colt’s skin condition.
According to Baffert, Baker did not suggest to him that Otomax* could be the source of the betamethasone until the day after he held a May 9, 2021, press conference outside his Churchill Downs stable.
Horses also receive betamethasone via joint injections, and through withdrawal guidelines, trainers are discouraged from having their horses injected with the medication within 14 days of a race.
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*Otomax ointment by Merck is a treatment for ear infections due to bacteria or yeast. It is labeled for use in dogs, but veterinarians will frequently prescribe it for cats, horses, and other animals as well.
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Featured Image: Medina Spirit looks out from his stall. By Spectrum Images.
Updated 06/28/22 4:42 pm EST
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