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Medina Spirit, Kentucky Derby Winner That Failed Drug Test, Dies During Workout At Santa Anita Park

ARCADIA (CBSLA) — Medina Spirit, the horse that failed a drug test after placing first in this year's Kentucky Derby race, died Monday at the race track at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.

According to Craig Robertson, the attorney for Medina Spirit's trainer Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit suffered a heart attack after a workout.

Preakness Preview
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - MAY 12: Exercise rider Humberto Gomez takes Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness entrant Medina Spirit over the track during a training session for the upcoming Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 12, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

"Following the completion of a routine morning workout, Medina Spirit collapsed on the track at Santa Anita Park and died suddenly of a probable cardiac event according to the on-site veterinary team who attended to him," track officials said in a statement.

Blood, hair, and urine samples from the racehorse were taken immediately after Medina Spirit's death and sent to the California Horse Racing Board. A full necropsy will be performed by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to determine an exact cause of death, according to track officials.

MedinaSpirit John P Wise
Medina Spirit, on the right, at the Kentucky Derby. (credit: John P. Wise/CBS)

The 3-year-old colt was the first-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby in May, but the win is now under investigation by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission after Medina Spirit tested positive for the anti-inflammatory steroid betamethasone.

Medina Spirit went on to a second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic and third in the Preakness Stakes, but was banned from participating from the Belmont Stakes.

Baffert and his attorney say Medina Spirit tested positive due to the use of a topical ointment known as Otomax to treat a skin condition, not an injection intended to enhance the horse's performance.

In a statement to Thoroughbred Daily News, Baffert said his entire barn has been devastated by the news of Medina Spirit's death.

"Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we are deeply mourning his loss. I will always cherish our proud and personal memories of Medina Spirit and his tremendous spirit," the statement said.

Medina Spirit's death would be the 21st at the track this year, following the death of Restiany on Thanksgiving Day.


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