Bob Baffert reaches agreement to run Medina Spirit in the Preakness Stakes

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Medina Spirit will be allowed to race in the Preakness.

“I am pleased to report that we have reached an agreement that will allow Medina Spirit and Concert Tour to run in the Preakness Stakes,” W. Craig Robertson III, attorney for trainer Bob Baffert, announced Tuesday.

Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby on May 1. Concert Tour won the Rebel Stakes on March 13 before finishing third in the Arkansas Derby on April 10. He did not run in the Kentucky Derby.

Both horses are trained by Bob Baffert, who was suspended by Churchill Downs after Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone in a postrace sample. A split sample has been sent to an independent lab for verification.

The Preakness draw is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Baffert released a statement Tuesday saying that Medina Spirit was administered Otomax, an anti-fungal ointment that contains betamethosone, leading up to the May 1 race at Churchill Downs. Baffert said that while it is not definitive, Otomax could have caused the overage at the Derby.

As for the Preakness, Robertson says that Baffert has consented to pre-race testing and monitoring for both his horses.

“In the best interest of horse racing, and the integrity of the sport, Mr. Baffert consents to blood testing, monitoring and medical record review by the Maryland Jockey Club (“MJC”) on the horse Medina Spirit, and two other horses trained by Mr. Baffert,” Robertson wrote in a letter to Alan M. Rifkin, counsel for the Maryland Jockey Club. “Medina Spirit and Concert Tour are presently entered in the Preakness Stakes and Beautiful Gift is presently entered in the Black Eyed Susan Stakes.

“In addition to the testing and monitoring conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission (“MRC”) and/or in cooperation with the MRC, the horses were tested upon arrival at Pimlico and further blood samples will also be drawn today and as may be further determined by MJC from each of the horses. The MJC blood samples will be tested by a lab chosen by the MJC.

“Consistent with the fair procedure process provided by The Stronach Group, Mr. Baffert consents to information regarding the results of the MRC and MJC tests, and other relevant medical and administrative records relating to the horses being disclosed to the MJC and Dr. Dionne Benson, The Stronach Group Chief Veterinary Officer.

“If any of the three horses test positive for a banned substance, or at a level for a permitted therapeutic substance which is above the designated limit, or if reasonable conditions warrant after MJC’s review of the medical or administrative records, Mr. Baffert, or MJC on his behalf, will scratch that horse from the upcoming race in which that horse is entered this weekend at Pimlico.

“Mr. Baffert has given these consents to further the interests of horse racing and the public. MJC may provide this letter and consents herein to the MRC and Mr. Baffert consents to the public release of this letter and all testing results. Mr. Baffert represents that he has authority to grant the consents represented herein on behalf of the owners of the aforementioned horses.

“The integrity of the sport is of the upmost importance to Mr. Baffert and by consenting to this testing regimen and monitoring he reaffirms his commitment and dedication to the sport.”

“Integrity, accountability and safety in our sport are principles that 1/ST RACING puts above all else. Our company has a track record of instituting process and protocols that have led to nationwide medication reforms and we are unwavering in our commitment to put horse and rider safety at the forefront,” said Craig Fravel, Chief Executive Officer, 1/ST RACING in a statement. “We are well aware of the public outcry and calls for action that have been the natural outcome of a medication positive in one of the most iconic races in our sport and we share the disappointment and concern.

“We are required to acknowledge in this instance that fundamental fairness compels us to respect the individual rights of participants in our sport to due process and adherence to agreed-upon and well-established rules. To this point, there has to our knowledge been no split sample testing as is required in every state in this country and no complaint or other official action has been announced by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission with regard to this incident. While the integrity of our sport is of utmost importance it is the responsibility of those in authority to follow the rules even as we seek to enforce them. We cannot make things up as we go along and we trust that the competitors, bettors and fans will understand the importance of adhering to that principle.”

The Preakness is set for a 6:50 p.m. post time on Saturday.

Baffert has said he will not attend the race Saturday because he does not want to be a distraction.

Spendthrift moving horses out of Baffert barn

The Daily Racing Form is reporting that Spendthrift Farm is moving some of its horses out of Baffert’s barn.

“Given the circumstances we thought it was best to hit the pause button,” Spendthrift general manager Ned Toffey told DRF. “I think we need to step back and let’s see how things play out. We’re not ruling anything out in the future.”

Spendthrift won the 2020 Kentucky Derby with Authentic, trained by Baffert.

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