Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tests positive for banned substance

­­Trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday morning Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone after winning the Kentucky Derby on May 1 at Churchill Downs, a result that ultimately could lead to the horse’s disqualification.

Baffert disputed the positive test result of 21 picograms, saying Medina Spirit “has never been treated with betamethasone,” which is an anti-inflammatory drug.

According to Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations, a second positive test – called a “split sample” – is required before a horse can be disqualified.

Baffert said he didn’t know when the result of the split sample will be available. Marc Guilfoil, executive director of the KHRC, said the positive test result was received Friday.

“During the investigation, both the trainer and owner of the horse will be afforded due process and opportunity to appeal,” Guilfoil said. “Therefore, the KHRC will not provide further comment at this time.”  

Churchill Downs confirmed runner-up Mandaloun will be declared the Kentucky Derby winner if the findings of Medina Spirit’s positive test are upheld.

Mandaloun trainer Brad Cox, a Louisville native, declined comment.

Though the use of betamethasone is permitted in Kentucky as a therapeutic, any race-day positive is a violation. New rules went into effect last August that replaced a 10-picogram-per-milliliter threshold with the stricter “limit of detection,” a standard triggered by the lowest quantity of a substance that can be confidently distinguished from the absence of that substance.