LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- While the horse racing world awaits a second or “split” sample of Medina Spirit’s post-Kentucky Derby drug test that came back positive for betamethasone, a corticosteriod not allowed on race days in Kentucky, several established names in the sport have not waited before distancing themselves from the colt’s Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert.
Churchill Downs, horse racing’s most famous address, already had banned Baffert from training or racing at the track hours after his announcement Sunday that Medina Spirit had tested positive.
On Tuesday, Spendthrift Farm, part owner of Baffert’s 2020 Kentucky Derby winner Authentic and the farm where the stallion is standing, said that it is moving four horses from Baffert’s barn in the wake of the positive Derby test and a rash of recent drug positives for the trainer’s horses.
Following Sea, a 3-year-old trained by Baffert and owned by Spendthrift, was removed from consideration from the Preakness Day Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico, according to the Daily Racing Form, and will be sent to trainer Todd Pletcher in New York.
Four other 2-year-olds trained by Baffert in California also will be moved from Baffert, Spendthrift general manager Ned Toffey told the Form, most likely to Santa Anita-based trainer Richard Mandella.
“Given the circumstances we thought it was best to hit the pause button,” Toffey told David Grening of the Racing Form. “I think we need to step back and see how things play out.”
Daisy Phipps Pulito, a co-owner of Phipps Stable, one of the most respected and well-established racing operations in the U.S., tweeted on Tuesday that the organization has talked to trainer Shug McGaughey and instructed him not to run any horse at Pimlico this weekend “where we don’t feel like we are running on a level playing field.”
Graham Motion, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom and in a three-decade career has had only one minor drug allegation with a horse, called Sunday’s developments with Baffert a sad day. He has long advocated for reform in medication regulations for horse racing in the U.S.
“I would like to be optimistic about our sport but today we are an embarrassment,” Motion Tweeted on Sunday. “Perhaps we have to hit rock bottom before things get better but we only have ourselves and the leaders of our sport to blame. For anyone that loves the sport as much as I do it’s a sad day.”
In the immediate future, however, Baffert scored a victory on Tuesday, when Pimlico Racecourse, the Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Racing Commission allowed his horses to run at Pimlico during Preakness weekend as long as they passed pre-race drug tests.
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