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Medina Spirit has been pronounced clean. For the Preakness Stakes, at least.
The 2021 Kentucky Derby winner passed three pre-race drug tests and will be officially allowed to run in this weekend's Preakness Stakes, according to the Associated Press' Stephen Whyno. The horse's status for the race had been in doubt after testing positive for the regulated steroid betamethasone following its Derby win.
The rigorous testing was part of an agreement to allow Medina Spirit and Concert Tour, the other horse in the Preakness field trained by Bob Baffert, to race on Saturday. Baffert's attorney struck the deal in the wake of Medina Spirit's positive test.
From the AP:
“While we acknowledge the challenging circumstances that prompted this further need for transparency, it reflects, above all else, that the principles of integrity, accountability, and safety in our sport are non-negotiable.” said Craig Fravel, CEO of 1/ST Racing, a branding arm of the Stronach Group that owns Pimlico Race Course.
Medina Spirit remains the favorite for the second leg of the Triple Crown, with 9/5 odds from the Preakness. Concert Tour sits just behind it on the board at 5/2 odds.
Of course, the bigger question isn't whether Medina Spirit will win a Triple Crown leg so much as if it will lose one.
Medina Spirit's Kentucky Derby win still looking in doubt
Even with the Preakness a day away, it still isn't confirmed if Medina Spirit will lose its victory at Churchill Downs earlier this month.
The horse is still awaiting the results of a second drug test for betamethasone. If that test also comes back positive, Medina Spirit will be disqualified and stripped of its Derby win (betters on runner-up Mandaloun will still be out of luck, though).
Baffert, who has an extensive history of medication violations, might have already given away how that second test will go. After previously blaming cancel culture and some hay that had been peed on, Baffert admitted earlier this week that his staff had treated Medina Spirit with an ointment containing betamethasone once a day until the day before the Derby. Trainers are required to stop using betamethasone 14 days before a race.
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