Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, a banned substance, earlier this month after winning the first of three stages in the Triple Crown Series of horse racing. The horse failed at Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, finishing third behind Midnight Bourbon and upset winner Rombauer.
“In order to maintain a thriving thoroughbred racing industry in New York City, the NYRA must protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants,” said NYRA CEO, Dave O’Rourke, in a written statement announcing the suspension.
“This responsibility demands action taken today in the best interests of thoroughbred racing. “
WATCH | Medina Spirit tested positive:
Baffert, one of the sport’s most successful and recognizable figures with a record seven Kentucky Derby wins, said there had “never been any attempt to play or cheat the system” in one. release provided to NBC Sports on Saturday.
If the positive test for the anti-inflammatory steroid is confirmed, it would rob Medina Spirit of her victory in the Kentucky Derby.
Baffert will temporarily not be allowed to stabilize horses at Belmont Park, Aqueduct Racetrack and Saratoga Race Course or to lead any of his horses on NYRA tracks. This ban includes racing at Belmont Park, with the Belmont Stakes on June 5.
Baffert had not made a commitment to enter a horse in the third stage of the Triple Crown, but had a lot in consideration for other races on Belmont Stakes day.
NYRA officials said they have taken into account Baffert’s previous sanctions in Kentucky, California and Arkansas, as well as the current situation with Medina Spirit, and expect to make a final decision on how long and how long. terms of the suspension based on information revealed by the ongoing Kentucky investigation.
Craig Robertson, a lawyer who represents Baffert, did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment.
Medina Spirit has tested positive for betamethasone in post-race tests and risks disqualification unless a second test is negative. Baffert said on Sunday that 21 picograms of the corticosteroid, which can be used to help a horse’s joints, appeared in the blood sample.
Baffert a day later said that an ointment used to treat Medina Spirit for a skin condition every day until the Derby figured out the substance. Even a trace of betamethasone in a horse’s system is not allowed on race day in Kentucky, Maryland, and New York.
Maryland officials have demanded that Medina Spirit and Baffert-trained runner Preakness’s concert tour and Black-Eyed participant Susan, Beautiful Gift, undergo three rounds of preliminary tests before being allowed to show up on the weekend. last in Pimlico. All three passed and were allowed to run.
Medina Spirit finished third and the Preakness concert tour ninth on Saturday. Beautiful Gift finished seventh in the Black-Eyed Susan on Friday.
Baffert has had five violations involving inadmissible drug levels in his horses in the past 13 months. He was fined in Kentucky and Arkansas and avoided a suspension in Arkansas following an appeal.