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Baffert given deadline in lawsuit over Medina Spirit’s positive drug test

Bob Baffert has until Wednesday to reach an agreement with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Published: Jun. 11, 2021 at 1:06 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 10:09 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert now has until Wednesday to come to a resolution in his legal battle with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Earlier this week, Baffert sued the commission on the grounds that his Derby-winning horse, Medina Spirit, was not given due process in a failed drug test.

Baffert and his attorney said in Franklin Circuit Court Friday they need to be in possession of what’s left of Medina Spirit’s urine sample, which is currently in a freezer somewhere. Judge Thomas Wingate asked the courtroom the million-dollar question:

“Why do you need to keep the urine? For the Smithsonian or something?” Wingate asked.

Baffert’s lawsuit claims the betamethasone found in Medina Spirit after winning the Kentucky Derby was the result of a topical ointment and not an injection. His attorneys said they need the urine to prove it.

”We think that more information, more science, and more knowledge is beneficial to us, them, the public,” said Baffert’s Attorney Craig Robertson, “and if we can scientifically determine that betamethasone came from an injection or an ointment, we should do that.”

As the legal battle stands, it’s a matter of the two parties, Baffert and the KHRC, agreeing on how that sample will get to an agreed-upon testing lab in New York and who gets to keep the urine sample when the tests are done.

Ultimately though, Judge Wingate pointed out it may not matter how the drug got in the horse’s system, based on how the regulations are written.

“The injectable versus the stuff that you put on your skin, is it differentiated in the [regulations]?” Wingate asked representatives from the KHRC.

The KHRC responded, saying it does not differentiate between the two. However, Attorneys for Baffert and Zedan Racing Stables, with whom Baffert filed the lawsuit, claim the difference between the two would be mitigating factors that would allow them to challenge the result.

Judge Wingate said Baffert has until Wednesday to reach a compromise with the KHRC before a court order comes down.

The KHRC said it’s standard for them to keep the samples in their Freezer after tests are run. Their attorney declined further comment after Friday’s proceeding.

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