Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit case in Kentucky Derby bogs down over size of urine sample

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Attorneys for trainer Bob Baffert and owner Amr Zedan will seek an injunction Friday morning in Franklin Circuit Court in an effort to establish that the betamethasone detected in Medina Spirit’s blood samples was the result of a topical ointment rather than an injection.

Characterizing the connections of Medina Spirit as litigants “who will not take ‘Yes’ for an answer,” the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission says the impasse over additional testing of the Kentucky Derby winner relates to the size of the sample to be provided.

At issue, according to the KHRC, is that the plaintiffs are seeking to test all of the colt’s split urine sample rather than a portion that would allow for some of the evidence to be preserved.

“Despite all of the ink spilled about the science behind betamethasone and alleged exculpatory or mitigating circumstances, the issue in this matter is a simple one,” the KHRC response filed Thursday says. “Plaintiffs want access to a split urine sample in order to perform tests for certain medications. The Commission stands ready, willing and able to provide this access. The current dispute between the parties is solely limited to the amount of the split urine sample to be provided.”

More: Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit's owner sue for more testing to show source of Betamethasone

Trainer Bob Baffert holds Medina Spirit the morning after winning his seventh Kentucky Derby with the horse.
Trainer Bob Baffert holds Medina Spirit the morning after winning his seventh Kentucky Derby with the horse.

According to the court filing, Baffert’s attorneys were offered the chance to send representatives to witness the frozen sample being thawed and, on three occasions, to test a portion of that sample.

“The Commission was willing to provide up to 2 milliliters of urine out of the 25 to 27 milliliter urine split sample,” the response said.

Attorneys for Baffert and Zedan objected to a KHRC proposal that Dr. Bruce Howard, the commission’s equine medical director, “or any person under your direction” personally transport the sample to an approved laboratory. They objected to the split sample being further divided as “alarming and directly violative of specimen custody and storage under the KHRC Rules of Racing.”

Though the Commission maintains there is no statute or regulation that even addresses the possibility of separating a portion of a split urine sample for further testing, the back-and-forth ultimately resulted in a lawsuit filed on Monday.

Judge Thomas Wingate is scheduled to hear arguments in the case at 9 a.m. Friday in Frankfort.

Also: Bob Baffert banned from Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby for next two years

“The Commission is still willing to provide up to 2 milliliters of urine from the urine split sample,” theKHRC's response says. “Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the Commission’s offer to provide this urine is insufficient for their purposes.”

Follow Tim Sullivan on Twitter: @TimSullivan714

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit case bogs down over size of urine sample