What Medina Spirit’s Second Positive Test Means for Kentucky Derby Bettors & Bob Baffert
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images. Pictured: Bob Baffert
A second post-race sample showed Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for an illegal steroid, leaving the horse’s win in doubt and landing trainer Bob Baffert a lengthy suspension.
The results of the test, which Baffert’s lawyers announced found 25 picograms of the steroid betamethasone, confirmed the previous positive test and could result in a disqualification. That official ruling will come from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
However, Churchill Downs wasted no time making its ruling, announcing Baffert will be suspended from the track for two years. That includes trainers who are either directly or indirectly involved with Baffert’s company.
No Kentucky Derby for two years. No Kentucky Oaks. The New York Racing Association already suspended Baffert for the Belmont Stakes. It’s possible other tracks follow course.
“Reckless practices and substance violations that jeopardize the safety of our equine and human athletes or compromise the integrity of our sport are not acceptable and as a company we must take measures to demonstrate that they will not be tolerated,” Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a statement.
“Mr. Baffert’s record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby. Given these repeated failures over the last year, including the increasingly extraordinary explanations, we firmly believe that asserting our rights to impose these measures is our duty and responsibility.”
We know the repercussions for Baffert and what will likely be ruled for the horse. But what about bettors, specifically those who wagered on Mandaloun, the horse set to claim the Kentucky Derby win should Medina Spirit be disqualified?
They’re most likely out of luck.
Those hoping to see their bets on Mandaloun — who closed around 26-1 to win the race — refunded or cashed, don’t count on it.
Some sportsbooks take advantage of such rulings in other sports to refund bettors as a promotion or to please the customer base — such as this week when Naomi Osaka bets were refunded following her withdrawal from the French Open. It doesn’t seem like books offering horse racing will do the same.
“Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations state that payment of valid pari-mutuel tickets shall be made on the basis of the order of finish as declared ‘official’ by the stewards or judges,” Churchill Downs spokesman Darren Rogers told The Action Network’s Darren Rovell. “A subsequent change in the order of finish or award of purse money that may result from a subsequent ruling by the stewards, judges, or commission shall not affect the pari-mutuel payout.”
A lawsuit against Baffert was filed in May by sports bettors who lost due to Medina Spirit’s win.
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