Medina Spirit, trained by the legendary Bob Baffert, won the 2021 Kentucky Derby. At least, that was the formal result for about nine months, but the history books now show something different.
With three-time Derby winner John Velazquez in the saddle, Medina Spirit finished the race about a half length in front of the runner-up, Mandaloun. It was a record-breaking seventh Derby win for Baffert, who looked to take Medina Spirit to The Preakness Stakes in search of his third Triple Crown.
But Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test for betamethasone, which is permitted for therapeutic use in horses but requires a 14-day withdrawal time. Baffert quickly denied ever administering betamethasone to Medina Spirit while Churchill Downs suspended him from entering any horses at their race track pending the outcome of an investigation by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Medina Spirit ended up finishing third in The Preakness.
After the positive test was confirmed in June, Baffert was banned from all Churchill Downs properties for two years, through the 2023 Derby. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission officially disqualified Medina Spirit in February, naming Mandaloun the 2021 race’s official winner. Unfortunately, that ruling came two months after Medina Spirit died following a December workout.