LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate has ordered that a vial of frozen urine taken from Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit after the race be flown to a New York lab on a private plane provided by the colt's owner, Amr Zedan, and trainer Bob Baffert for additional testing.
Attorneys for Zedan and Baffert had gone to court to seek the additional tests, hoping to demonstrate that the presence of betamethasone, a drug banned on race days by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, was present in Medina Spirit's post-Derby blood sample as the result of a topical ointment and not an injection.
Wingate said that the sample should be flown on the plane offered by Baffert and Zedan to a New York lab, with two representatives from both sides accompanying. He further ordered that the lab provide results to both sides simultaneously.
The Baffert team will get 20 milliliters of urine, with the rest staying with the racing commission.
The urine will be tested for substances found in Otomax, in the ointment Baffert claims was the source of the failed drug test, in an effort to mitigate the presence of the banned raceday substance.
The sides were at odds over how much urine each would have access to. In a June 11 hearing, Wingate ruled that the testing should take place, and ordered the sides to work out the details. Both informed him on Tuesday of this week that they had reached an impasse and would require a court order.
Wingate's order follows closely the requests of Medina Spirit's team, though it did not provide for testing for any substances other than those found in the ointment used on Medina Spirit for a skin condition.
In his order, Wingate said, "The court believes that this is a fair and equitable distribution that will hopefully expedite this significant matter that not only has the Commonwealth, but also the entire horse racing industry, waiting with bated breath. The results of the blood sample have cast the Commonwealth’s signature industry into the forefront of national news causing rampant speculation about what the outcome may be. This matter is of extraordinary importance to the Commonwealth and the horse racing industry and deserves swift attention and incontrovertible results.”
Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby, Baffert's record-breaking seventh win in the race, on May 1, but could be disqualified because of the betamethasone found in his post-race blood sample. After the original test, and a test of the split sample, both confirmed that the substance was present, Churchill Downs moved to suspend Baffert and any of his employees from running at its tracks for two years. The New York Racing Association joined that suspension, pending the outcome of the Medina Spirit investigation.
Baffert sued NYRA on Monday of this week. In part, that suit stated, "Put simply, Medina Spirit has not been disqualified as the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Baffert's Kentucky training license has not been suspended. Under Kentucky's rules, any consideration of those issues must wait until there is a formal hearing before the Kentucky Racing Stewards, which has not yet to taken place."
It argued that the state racing association didn't have there authority to suspend Baffert, only the state gaming commission can do that. No ruling has been issued.
In the Kentucky ruling, no timetable has been given for the additional urine testing, but the judge indicated that the use of a private plane should expedite the process. The Kentucky Racing Commission had argued for the use of commercial flights, or delivery by car.
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