Bob Baffert’s lawyer says tests show Kentucky Derby winner wasn’t injected with steroid

W. Craig Robertson III says tests on split samples from 'Medina Spirit' reveal the positive test for betamethasone was from a topical ointment

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The lawyer for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert says tests performed on split samples taken from Kentucky Derby winner ‘Medina Spirit’ revealed the horse’s positive test for betamethasone was the result of a topical ointment, not an injection, therefore, the horse should not be disqualified, according to the Thoroughbred Daily News.  Bob Baffert says the ointment was used topically to treat the horse’s skin rash.  Betamethasone is a long-acting corticosteroid with immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties.

The statement from Baffert’s attorney, W. Craig Robertson III, was released Friday evening.

“The testing of the split urine sample of Medina Spirit has now been completed by Dr. George Maylin, Director of the New York Drug Testing & Research Program. By Order of the Franklin Circuit Court in Kentucky, this urine was tested ‘to determine if the alleged topical administration of Otomax could have resulted in the finding of betamethasone’ in Medina Spirit following the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Those results have now definitively confirmed that the betamethasone present in Medina Spirit’s system did indeed come from the topical ointment Otomax and not an injection. In other words, it has now been scientifically proven that what Bob Baffert said from the beginning was true–Medina Spirit was never injected with betamethasone and the findings following the Kentucky Derby were solely the result of the horse being treated for a skin condition by way of a topical ointment–all at the direction of Medina Spirit’s veterinarian.

“The betamethasone in an injection is betamethasone acetate.  The betamethasone in the topical ointment is betamethasone valerate.  Only betamethasone acetate is addressed and regulated in the rules of racing in Kentucky. Thus, the presence of betamethasone valerate in Medina Spirit, which resulted from a topical ointment, is not a rules violation. Dr. Maylin’s testing not only confirmed the presence of betamethasone valerate, but also the absence of betamethasone acetate. This should definitively resolve the matter in Kentucky and Medina Spirit should remain the official winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

“Since May, Mr. Baffert has been the subject of an unfair rush to judgment. We asked all along that everyone wait until the facts and science came to light. Now that it has been scientifically proven that Mr. Baffert was truthful, did not break any rules of racing, and Medina Spirit’s victory was due solely to the heart and ability of the horse and nothing else, it is time for all members of racing to come together for the good of the sport. Mr. Baffert has been a tremendous ambassador for the sport throughout his 46 year Hall of Fame career and he has every intention of continuing to do so.”

Now, the attention will turn to the Kentucky Racing Commission.  How will the stewards rule?  As of this writing, Bob Baffert is still banned from Churchill Downs for two years.



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