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Medina Spirit disqualified as 2021 Kentucky Derby winner

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission ruled Monday that "a violation occurred" and Mandaloun is the new winner of the 147th Kentucky Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Medina Spirit is no longer the winner of the 147th Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Board of Stewards issued two rulings Monday in connection with Medina Spirit and trainer Bob Baffert.

The board determined that a violation occurred in the race held on May 1, 2021, after Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone. The drug is legal, but state horse racing rules require at least a 14-day withdrawal time from the medication, and any level of detection on race day is a violation.

Baffert said the 3-year-old colt was treated with Otomax, an anti-fungal ointment, to treat dermatitis, which led to the positive test.

As a result, Medina Spirit has been disqualified as the winner of the race. According to the ruling, purse money must be returned to the association, but bets placed on the race will not be affected.

"Best horse that day won," Louisville native and trainer Dale Romans said. "But it was a rule violation and everyone has to play by the rules."

Mandaloun, trained by Louisville native Brad Cox, is now listed as the winner of the 147th Kentucky Derby, followed by Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality. Mandaloun's owners will receive the $1.8 million winner's purse.

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Churchill Downs released the following statement:

Today Churchill Downs recognizes Mandaloun as the winner of the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby and extends our congratulations to owner/breeder Juddmonte, trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux. Winning the Kentucky Derby is one of the most exciting achievements in sports and we look forward to celebrating Mandaloun on a future date in a way that is fitting of this rare distinction.

In addition to the disqualification, Bob Baffert will be suspended from March 8, 2022, through June 5, 2022, and must pay a fine of $7,500, according to a second ruling.

He is already banned from running horses at Churchill Downs due to a two-year suspension put in effect on June 2, 2021.

Baffert said he and his legal team plan to appeal the ruling.

Medina Spirit is the second winning horse to be disqualified from the Derby since 2019. "The systems are working," Romans said. "No one is getting away with anything and that's a good thing to know."

Medina Spirit died from an unknown cause on Dec. 6, 2021, at Santa Anita. Baffert said the colt suffered a heart attack, but the necropsy showed no definite cause of death.

Monday's decision makes Medina Sprit the second horse in the 146-year history of the race to be disqualified for a banned substance; the first was Dancer’s Image in 1968, a decision that gave Forward Pass the victory. The only other disqualification was in 2019 when Maximum Security was penalized because of interference.

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