Hours after reports surfaced on Wednesday that a second blood test from Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit confirmed the presence of the steroid betamethasone, Churchill Downs suspended legendary trainer Bob Baffert for two years.
The ban begins immediately and runs through the 2023 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs.
According to The Associated Press and ESPN, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has the final say on whether or not to disqualify Medina Spirit from the Derby and award the race to Mandaloun, who finished second. That commission is having Medina Spirit’s original samples checked for other substances, specifically the ointment Otomax.
Baffert previously claimed the antifungal ointment used on Medina Spirit contained the banned steroid. Nevertheless, the New York Racing Association suspended him last month and temporarily banned him from entering horses at any of the state’s racetracks. None of Baffert’s horses are allowed to compete in this weekend’s Belmont Stakes.
Baffert could face additional punishments following the final ruling from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Medina Spirit’s samples resulted in Baffert’s fifth medical violation across the past 13 months.