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Bob Baffert acknowledged Tuesday morning Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was treated with an anti-fungal ointment called Otomax, which includes betamethasone.
“Following the Santa Anita Derby, Medina Spirit developed dermatitis on his hind end,” Baffert wrote in a prepared statement. “I had him checked out by my veterinarian who recommended the use of an anti-fungal ointment called Otomax. The veterinary recommendation was to apply this ointment daily to give the horse relief, help heal the dermatitis and prevent it from spreading.
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“My barn followed this recommendation and Medina Spirit was treated with Otomax once a day up until the day before the Kentucky Derby. (Monday), I was informed that one of the substances in Otomax is betamethasone. While we do not know definitively that this was the source of the alleged 21 picograms found in Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample, and our investigation is continuing, I have been told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results. As such, I wanted to be forthright about this fact as soon as I learned of this information.
“As I have stated, my investigation is continuing and we do not know for sure if this ointment was the cause of the test results, or if the test results are even accurate, as they have yet to be confirmed by the split sample. However, again, I have been told that a finding of a small amount, such as 21 picograms, could be consistent with application of this type of ointment. I intend to continue to investigate and I will continue to be transparent.”
Betamethasone is anti-inflammatory drug that otherwise is legal but is illegal when found in the blood on race day.
According to Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations, a second positive test — called a “split sample” — is required before a horse can be disqualified. The result of the second test is not expected to be ready for several weeks.
Baffert still plans to run Medina Spirit in Saturday’s Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The draw for the Preakness is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Follow Jason Frakes on Twitter: @KentuckyDerbyCJ.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Bob Baffert says ointment used on Medina Spirit includes betamethasone