Attorney argues for Baffert, Medina Spirit to KHRC stewards

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — An attorney for Bob Baffert believes the Hall of Famer trainer and embattled Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit “will be fully exonerated” after stating to Kentucky racing stewards that the colt’s failed drug test for a steroid resulted from a prescribed topical salve rather than an injection.

Medina Spirit’s derby win is in jeopardy following the failed postrace drug test for betamethasone last May. Churchill Downs has suspended Baffert for two years following the latest in a recent series of failed tests by his horses. Representatives for Baffert and the horse met Monday with Kentucky Horse Racing Association stewards and contended there was no violation because state rules allow the use of topical salves. Betamethasone is legal in Kentucky but prohibited on race day.

Attorney Clark Brewster said in a statement Monday night that rules in Kentucky and other jurisdictions restrict only betamethasone acetate or sodium phosphate, which are injected into a horse’s intra-articular joint. Brewster added, “The false narrative regarding this case was sprung early and spread widely by uninformed or malevolent accusers and by careless reporting.”

The hearing was closed to the public and media, and a decision could come this week. A message left with a KHRC spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

Medina Spirit died Dec. 6 after a workout at Santa Anita racetrack in California. Results released last week from a necropsy on the horse revealed no definitive cause of death.