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Legendary coach Bob Baffert has denied knowingly cheating for the past year Kentucky Derby win and revealed that he is still fighting to restore Medina Spirit’s victory.
Baffert received a 90-day suspension for Medina Spirit’s failed post-match drug test and discipline was confirmed ahead of this year’s Kentucky Derby. The horse tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug.
The drug should clean up a horse’s system at least 14 days before a race. While it supposedly has less potential to affect performance, any level of detection on race day is a violation. The horse’s victory was stripped and given to Mandaloun.
Baffert was denied entry to any race at Churchill Downs until mid-2023 but was told ESPN one day before this year’s race he is still struggling with decisions.
“Who would have thought that an ointment – an ointment – had defeated the Kentucky Derby winner,” he told the outlet. “It’s just not fair. And it’s something we’re going to do, you know, we’ll fight vigorously to save that horse’s Kentucky Derby, because he … he deserved the win.”
Baffert said it was “difficult” to see his name deleted from the Churchill Downs stables.
After the horse’s death in December, he said he was trying to fight for the horse’s legacy.
“I think the main thing is to save the legacy of Medina Spirit. This is what I am fighting for. And I want to fight for the sport. The legacy of this sport. Sport is a great sport. It is growing and I think that it is. now it’s cleaner than it’s ever been, “Baffert said.
“I just think people are getting the wrong information and the word has to get out there.”
Baffert vehemently denied knowingly cheating in Medina Spirit’s victory. He said that the ointment given to the horse had “zero impact” on his performance.
“They’re still running around with a false narrative. And it takes some time to change that, especially, you know, the biased news against me … I’m still dealing with this,” Baffert said. “But, over time – as I said – when we get to a neutral, fair situation … we just need someone with common sense, fairness to listen to this – and we have the facts, the tests. We have it all. It’s all there.”
Two of Baffert’s former horses will race in the Derby: Messier and Taiba. Tim Yakteen is their coach. He had no contact with Baffert.
Animal Wellness Action Executive Director Marty Irby praised the song in a statement.
“We commend Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for taking positive steps to help restore integrity to the ‘fastest two minutes in sports,’” Irby said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Lasix’s absence. and other drugs, along with coach Bob Baffert’s infamous suspension following a failed drug test with Medina Spirit last year, and Churchill’s support for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, puts the ‘Run for the Roses’ in a much better light than we have seen in recent years.
“If American horse racing and the Kentucky Derby are to maintain credibility as a legitimate sport and distinctive event, these kinds of reforms must continue and bad actors like Baffert must be held accountable at every step. Let’s hope the 148th Kentucky Derby is the most. safe and loudest we’ve ever seen. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report.