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Medina Spirit scandal will not impact Derby race payouts

Published: May. 10, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For the second time in three years, the Kentucky Derby has ended in controversy.

Kentucky Derby 147 winner Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test Sunday, testing for excessive levels of anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone. After the news broke, Churchill Downs suspended Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Baffert has denied treating the horse with that drug and told WAVE 3 News he will conduct his own investigation.

However, Medina Spirit’s test results have called the Derby results into question, with many wondering if the horse will be disqualified. Though that is still unclear, one thing is certain: The Derby payouts are locked in.

A representative from Churchill Downs told WAVE 3 News in a statement, “According to Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations: Payment of valid pari-mutuel tickets shall be made on the basis of the order if the finish as declared ‘official’ by the stewards or judges. A subsequent change in the lurse money that may result from a subsequent ruling by the stewards, judges. Or commission shall not affect the pair-mutuel payout.”

Andy Farris said the news was discouraging. Farris has made a hobby of wagering on the horses, after falling in love with horse racing at a young age.

“I started working on the backside of Churchill Downs because my uncle was a jockey in the ’70s,” Farris said. “My dad was a hot walker while he was working at the airport.”

Farris said he bet on Mandaloun, the horse that finished second, to win the Derby back in November. After the most recent Derby scandal, he may take a break from betting on the horses but said he tries to chalk it up to the imperfections that come with guessing.

“It’s very disappointing. Just for the whole sport and as a bettor, you wish — there was big odds on Mandaloun and you would’ve gotten a lot of change back,” he said. “You win some, you lose some. It’s just the game of gambling, that’s all it is.”

The Medina Spirit scandal leaves a sour taste in the mouth for Larry Hall, another long-time bettor, but he wants to wait for the results to become official before passing judgment.

“Let it be legit until everybody starts speculating,” Hall said. “Wait ‘til they officially declare him, then you can make your opinion.”

Medina Spirit made the trip to Pimlico Race Course early Monday morning. The draw for the Preakness Stakes is set for Tuesday.

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