The Denver Post
Baffert: Antifungal ointment had steroid
BALTIMORE» Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was treated with an antifungal ointment containing the steroid betamethasone that may have caused the horse to fail a postrace drug test, trainer Bob Baffert said Tuesday.
In a statement issued by his lawyer, Baffert said Medina Spirit was treated for dermatitis with the ointment once a day leading up to the May 1 race and that equine pharmacology experts have told him this could explain the test results.
Baffert said the horse tested positive for 21 picograms of the substance, which is typically given to horses therapeutically to help their joints and is a violation even at a trace amount on race day in Kentucky.
Regardless of the reason, Medina Spirit would be disqualified from the Derby and Mandaloun named the winner if a second round of testing shows the presence of betamethasone.
Preakness officials said Medina Spirit and Baffert’s other horses running at Pimlico Race Course this weekend will be allowed to enter the race, subject to additional testing and monitoring.
“My investigation is continuing, and we do not know for sure if this ointment was the cause of the test results, or if the test results are even accurate, as they have yet to be confirmed by the split sample,” Baffert said. “I have been told that a finding of a small amount, such as 21 picograms, could be consistent with application of this type of ointment.”
Baffert said at a news conference Sunday at Churchill Downs that he did not know how the substance made its way into the colt’s system.
Dr. Mary Scollay, executive director and chief operating officer of the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium, was surprised the situation went from no explanation to “documented, chronic exposure to the medication.”
“We know that the horse was exposed — deliberately exposed — on a daily basis to betamethasone,” Scollay said Tuesday via phone. “So, yes, it is not implausible that this is the source of the betamethasone in the horse.”
Medina Spirit and stablemate Concert Tour arrived at Pimlico Race Course on Monday and jogged on the track Tuesday morning, though Baffert does not plan to be in Baltimore for the race and put assistant Jimmy Barnes in charge.