Horse racing and Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit dies of heart attack

December 6 (Reuters) – Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, who failed a drug test after this year’s race, died of a heart attack on Monday following a workout on a California racetrack, an attorney for the horse’s trainer said.

Medina Spirit, who stormed the house under jockey John Velazquez to finish first by a half length at the Kentucky Derby in May and give coach Bob Baffert a record-breaking seventh victory in the Run for the Roses of $ 3 million, collapsed after a workout in Santa Anita Park.

“It is with great sadness that I announce that Medina Spirit died today of a heart attack in Santa Anita following a training session,” Baffert said in a statement provided to Reuters.

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“My whole barn is devastated by this news. Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we mourn her loss deeply.

“I will always cherish the proud and personal memories of Medina Spirit and its wonderful spirit.”

Medina Spirit owner Amr Zedan from Saudi Arabia was not immediately reachable through his lawyer.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, a horse trained by Bob Baffert, races the Churchill Downs track in Louisville, Kentucky, United States on April 28, 2021. REUTERS / Bryan Woolston

“All I can say is he gave us the ride of our lives and brought everyone together,” Zedan said in a report on Thoroughbred Daily News.

“We mourn this loss, Bob (Baffert), myself, our team and Johnny (Velazquez). We are all very sad.”

Baffert, one of the world’s best-known trainers, has come under scrutiny by state horse racing regulators in recent years after some of the horses in his stables tested positive for prohibited substances.

Medina Spirit’s post-race sample after the Kentucky Derby showed 21 picograms of betamethasone, above the legal limit in Kentucky races, and Baffert was suspended from races at Churchill Downs for two years.

Despite the positive test, Medina Spirit was cleared to compete in the Preakness Stakes in mid-May and finished third, but the black bay colt was banned from the Belmont Stakes, the final stage of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred races. American.

Baffert said earlier this year that Otomax, an antifungal ointment used to treat dermatitis, could be the source of the positive test.

An attorney for the horse’s owner said over the weekend that a split sample test for Medina Spirit confirmed the presence of a banned substance was indeed from a topical ointment, not an injection. Read more

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Reporting by Frank Pingue and Tyler Clifford; Editing by Ken Ferris

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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