A second drug test from Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit has confirmed the presence of a banned steroid, a statement said Wednesday, potentially paving the way for the horse to be stripped of its victory at Churchill Downs.
Clark Brewster, a lawyer for Medina Spirit's owner Amr Zedan, confirmed in a statement that analysis of a split sample taken from the horse had found traces of betamethasone.
US horse racing was thrown into uproar last month after Medina Spirit, trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, tested positive for the substance following victory in the Kentucky Derby.
Baffert initially vehemently denied administering the drug to the horse but later admitted it was contained in an ointment used to treat a skin complaint up until the eve of the Derby.
It is the latest controversy to embroil Baffert, whose horses have failed at least 29 drug tests during his career.
Brewster said in a statement that further analysis of Medina Spirit's sample was ongoing, and would bolster Baffert's claim that the betamethasone entered the horse's system through the topical ointment Otomax, and not an injection.
"In response to the inquiries, this will acknowledge that the Medina Spirit split sample confirmed the finding of betamethasone at 25 picograms," Brewster's statement said.
"There is other testing that is being conducted, including DNA testing. We expect this additional testing to confirm that the presence of the betamethasone was from the topical ointment, Otomax, and not an injection.
"At the end of the day, we anticipate this case to be about the treatment of Medina Spirit's skin rash with Otomax. We will have nothing further to say until the additional testing is complete."
If Medina Spirit's Derby victory is invalidated, runner-up Mandaloun stands to be named the winner of the May 1 US flat racing classic.
Medina Spirit was allowed to compete in last month's Preakness, the second leg of US racing's Triple Crown, despite the positive test in the Kentucky Derby.
However Baffert has been barred from entering runners at Saturday's Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown, by the New York Racing Association.