As Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit galloped amid the furor of his positive drug test for the anti-inflammatory betamethasone, Maryland Jockey Club officials postponed the Preakness Stakes post-position draw to Tuesday.
Originally, the post-position draw and morning-line odds were set to be announced on Monday. But, in the wake of Sunday’s bombshell regarding the current Kentucky Derby champion and the positive drug test imperiling that status, the MJC called an audible.
It also released a statement concerning Medina Spirit’s failed drug test for excessive amounts of betamethasone. The statement left some wiggle room regarding the Bob Baffert-trained colt and his status for Saturday’s 146th Preakness.
“Integrity in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing is the ultimate priority for 1/ST Racing and the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC). 1/ST Racing has been an industry leader instituting processes and protocols that have led to nationwide medication reform and increased accountability. We are committed to achieving the highest level of horse care and safety standards, and we have a proven track record of pushing those standards forward.”
Betamethasone is not an illegal drug
The statement continued, “1/ST Racing and MJC intend to review the relevant facts and information relating to the reported medication positive as a result of the post-race blood sample testing completed by Churchill Downs following the 147th Kentucky Derby involving Medina Spirit trained by Bob Baffert. We are consulting with the Maryland Racing Commission and any decision regarding the entry of Medina Spirit in the 146th Preakness Stakes will be made after review of the facts.”
As of now, the facts Baffert revealed Sunday morning describe his Derby winner testing positive for more than twice the allotted limit of betamethasone. That’s an anti-inflammatory injected into a horse’s joints to reduce swelling and inflammation. The corticosteroid is legal up to 10 picograms, according to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Baffert said Medina Spirit’s test came back at 21 picograms of betamethasone. He denies his barn gave the Protonico progeny any amounts of the drug. A picogram is one-trillionth of a gram.
Baffert’s Preakness entries continue their paces
Meanwhile, both Baffert Preakness entries, Medina Spirit and Concert Tour, worked out at Churchill Downs. With Baffert watching – and apparently pleased with what he saw — Concert Tour reeled off five-eighths of a mile in 1:00.40. Medina Spirit got in an open, untimed gallop.
“He worked really well. He’s been training really well,” Baffert said about Concert Tour, who will have Mike Smith aboard for Saturday’s Preakness. “I’m happy with the way he went, so he’ll definitely be going to the Preakness. Medina Spirit, we just gave him a stiff open gallop, sort of. We’re happy with how he went. He came out of the race really, really well. So they’ll both be going to the Preakness.”
Both horses will van from Louisville to Baltimore on Monday, arriving between 3 and 4 a.m. ET Tuesday morning.