Hours after reports emerged 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 Meeting 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 monitoring the original Medina Spirit samples for other substances, specifically Otomax ointment.
Baffert previously claimed that the antifungal ointment used in Medina Spirit contained the prohibited steroid. However, the New York Racing Association suspended it last month and was temporarily banned from bringing horses from any of the state’s racetracks. None of Baffert’s horses can compete in this weekend’s Belmont Stakes.
Baffert could face additional penalties following the final ruling by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. The Medina Spirit samples resulted in Baffert’s fifth medical violation in the past 13 months.