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Can Medina Spirit still take part in the Preakness? What positive drug test means for next race

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Medina Spirit's positive drug test has thrown the results of the 2021 Kentucky Derby into limbo, but it also raises a question about the next big event on the racing calendar: Will the horse be allowed to run in the upcoming Preakness Stakes?

The second leg of the Triple Crown is set for May 15 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, but it's not yet clear if the Kentucky Derby champion, who tested positive for the anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone, will be allowed to participate.

A test showed 21 picograms of the drug, which is permitted in Kentucky as a therapeutic but is not allowed to show up in race-day tests, in Medina Spirit's system.

Results of a second test — required by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to disqualify a horse — are pending, and Medina Spirit's trainer, Bob Baffert, has denied ever treating the horse with betamethasone.

The Maryland Jockey Club, which runs the Preakness, said in a statement Sunday it is "consulting with the Maryland Racing Commission, and any decision regarding the entry of Medina Spirit in the 146th Preakness Stakes will be made after review of the facts.”

Bob Baffert brings Medina Spirit out for fans to see on the morning after the Kentucky Derby.
Bob Baffert brings Medina Spirit out for fans to see on the morning after the Kentucky Derby.

The post position draw for the Preakness was moved back Sunday, from noon Monday to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Pimlico Race Course announced. But the results of a second drug test can take days or weeks to come back.

Baffert said Monday that he would not accompany Medina Spirit and Concert Tour to Baltimore because he didn't want to be a distraction. Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes will take care of the horses there, Baffert said.

A spokesperson for the Maryland Jockey Club did not immediately return a call from The Courier Journal seeking more information on the situation.

Participation in the Preakness is one of many potential consequences for the positive drug test.

If the second test comes back positive, Medina Spirit will no longer be a Kentucky Derby champion. Baffert, a seven-time Derby winner, has already been suspended from entering horses at Churchill Downs.

Baffert, for his part, said in the wake of the test result that he still plans to run Medina Spirit in the Preakness.

“He’s still the Derby winner,” he told reporters Sunday, “but we have to go through that process.”

Reach reporter Mary Ramsey at mramsey@gannett.com, and follow her on Twitter @mcolleen1996.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Preakness: Medina Spirit drug test raises eligibility question