Horse bettors watching Derby 148 with bated breath following Medina Spirit scandal

Mandaloun was eventually declared the winner of Kentucky Derby 147 after Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone.
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 4:48 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The aroma of the Kentucky Derby is fragrant in Stacey Hayes’ South End home. The watercolor paintings and bourbon bottles on the bar cart reveal that horseracing culture runs in her veins.

“I love Derby season,” Hayes said. “I would consider it my favorite holiday - a Kentucky holiday.”

Perhaps the greatest clue into how much Hayes’ loves horseracing is a little black book with scores of statistics inscribed inside.

Her partner Eric’s bet book is a running tally of previous wagers.

“(He likes) Pick 3′s, depending on how big a stake it is,” Hayes said. “And then he’ll go through based on how much he wants to spend per bet and then pick the horses from that.”

The secrets of triumph and tragedy, victories and losses over the years are contained within this gambling holy grail. There’s either a fairly decent bet or a really awful beat written somewhere in there, depending on how it’s looked at: Hayes bet on Mandaloun, the eventual Kentucky Derby 147 winner. With that said, she never got a payday.

“I think a lot of people had money on Mandaloun, which was kind of devastating at the end of the day,” Hayes said. “It almost felt like we were deceived.”

Andy Farris’ story is similar.

“It was, it was somewhere around 20-1, 25-1 (on Derby day) and I had a future bet on it, so that would’ve paid even more,” Farris said. “I think I had him at 50-1.”

Because of the way things played out, Farris, Hayes, and numerous others did not get their payouts. Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, was the first to cross the finish line, but after a few days, Medina Spirit’s post-race drug test confirmed that betamethasone was present in the horse’s system on race day. Medina Spirit was disqualified after months of back-and-forth, and Mandaloun was finally declared the winner.

As is customary, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission declared the race results official minutes after the race was over, locking in the pari-mutuel payouts, which meant Medina Spirit bettors cashed regardless of the horse’s eventual disqualification.

“And it’s just, you know, you sometimes forget about it,” Farris said. “But then again, sometimes you remember it in the very back of your mind.”

Farris and Hayes told WAVE News that, despite their heartbreak, they intend to wager on the horses running in Kentucky Derby 148, with last year’s events still fresh in their minds.

“Kind of makes you want to get back at them again,” Farris said. “Maybe you want to hit that even bigger score and make up for last year’s loss that you should’ve had maybe. Revenge, revenge would be a good word.”

“Like I said, this is a gamble and I guess this is part of it,” Hayes said.

Whether this year’s ticket’s a winner or loser, Hayes said she may record it in the bet book to preserve history - in case it repeats itself.

“Oh yeah it’s definitely a story to tell,” Hayes said.

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