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Agreement Reached, Medina Spirit Will Run In Preakness Stakes

J. Tyler Franklin

Embattled Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit will run in this weekend’s Preakness Stakes.

The Maryland Jockey Club and a lawyer for trainer Bob Baffert said Tuesday they had reached an agreement involving increased testing and monitoring of three Baffert horses ahead of the races.

That follows an announcement earlier Tuesday from Baffert that Medina Spirit was treated with an antifungal ointment that contained betamethasone. After the Derby, the horse tested positive for 21 picograms of the substance, more than the allowed limit.

Churchill Downs suspended Baffert following the initial positive test. If another test reveals the same finding, the horse could be disqualified as the Derby winner.

Another Baffert-trained horse was disqualified from the Kentucky Oaks last year after testing positive for the same drug.

The Hall of Fame trainer has three horses slated to run at the Maryland Jockey Club this weekend: Medina Spirit and Concert Tour in the Preakness, and filly Beautiful Gift in the Black Eyed Susan Stakes.

Craig Robertson, Baffert’s attorney, wrote in a letter to a lawyer for the Maryland Jockey Club that Baffert consented to submit all three horses to “blood testing, monitoring and medical record review.”

“In addition to the testing and monitoring conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission (‘MRC’) and/or in cooperation with the MRC, the horses were tested upon arrival at Pimlico and further blood samples will also be drawn today and as may be further determined by MJC from each of the horses. The MJC blood samples will be tested by a lab chosen by the MJC,” he wrote.

The Maryland Jockey Club said in a statement Medina Spirit will be “permitted” to run in the 146th Preakness Stakes “with rigorous conditions to entry along with a binding commitment from Bob Baffert to full transparency of medical and testing results that will allow for all results to be released to the public.”

Both parties said Baffert agreed to scratch any horse that tests positive for a banned substance or an allowed substance above the legal limit.

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