Churchill Downs also suspended him after Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test, casting doubt on his victory.
Baffert told reporters he would be transparent with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as it investigates the matter and denied knowledge of any wrongdoing. The horse tested positive for the steroid betamethasone which is used to treat pain and inflammation. He was found to contain 21 picograms of betamethasone in his system, more than double what is allowed.
“To be clear, if the results are confirmed, the Medina Spirit results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner,” Churchill Downs officials said in a statement.
“Churchill Downs will not tolerate it. In view of the seriousness of the alleged violation, Churchill Downs will immediately suspend Bob Baffert, the trainer of Medina Spirit, from any horse at Churchill Downs Racecourse.
For now, Medina Spirit will still be competing in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, unless officials at Pimlico or the Maryland Racing Commission prevent it from doing so. It is the fifth Baffert horse to fail a drug test in over a year.
“I got the biggest boost in the race for something I didn’t do,” said Baffert, referring to the test failure. “And it’s disturbing. It is an injustice to the horse. … I don’t know what’s going on in the race right now, but there is something wrong. I don’t feel embarrassed. I feel like I have been wronged. We will do our own investigation. We are going to be transparent with the racing committee, as we always have been.
“He’s a great horse. He doesn’t deserve this. He ran a gallant race.