Crowning the true winner
Officials have stripped Medina Spirit of the 2021 Kentucky Derby title over a doping scandal surrounding the now deceased racehorse.
Mandaloun declared the true winner of the prestigious race
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) announced the ruling on Monday, with Mandaloun declared the true winner of the prestigious race. Despite this, it appears bettors who backed Mandaloun to win still have no recourse.
Medina Spirit’s trainer Bob Baffert has received a $7,500 fine from the KHRC and a 90-day ban from all Kentucky racing facilities. Horse racing reporter Ray Paulick shared a copy of the official stewards ruling via Twitter:
Baffert’s attorney Clark Brewster has already confirmed that the trainer will appeal the ruling, stating: “This ruling represents an egregious departure from both the facts and the law.” The lawyer believes Baffert’s fate was already decided before he appeared at the hearing.
The failed doping test
Medina Spirit is just the second Kentucky Derby winner to fail a doping test in the race’s 147 years. The horse tested positive for a steroid called Betamethasone following the race in May 2021. The anti-inflammatory drug is not illegal in Kentucky, but there is a race day ban on the substance.
Baffert originally denied any wrongdoing
Following the positive test, Medina Spirit’s trainer Bob Baffert received a two-year ban from the Kentucky Derby host venue, Churchill Downs. Baffert originally denied any wrongdoing before admitting to using a topical ointment on Medina Spirit that contained Betamethasone. Baffert’s legal team argued that the trace amount of the steroid could not have affected the race’s outcome.
Animal Wellness Action executive director Marty Irby welcomed the ruling against the trainer, labeling Baffert “American horse racing’s most infamous violator.” Irby called upon racing bodies in other states to also suspend the trainer.
Joining a unique group
A Churchill Downs statement on Monday officially declared Mandaloun the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner. As a result, the horse’s owners will now get the $1.8m first place prize. Trainer Brad Cox also becomes the first Louisiana native to win the Kentucky Derby.
Churchill Downs said it was looking forward to “celebrating Mandaloun on a future date in a way that is fitting of this rare distinction.”
The only other Kentucky Derby winner disqualified following a positive test for a banned substance was Dancer’s Image back in 1968. Maximum Security is the only other Kentucky Derby winner to lose the win after the race. The horse was first past the line in 2019 before receiving a penalty for interference.