Brian Kilmeade dismisses Bob Baffert's claim Derby horse controversy 'cancel culture': 'You're no Dr. Seuss'

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Fox News 10 May, 2021 - 11:21pm 44 views

Did Medina spirit win the Kentucky Derby?

On May 1, Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby by a half-length. Baffert's team learned of the positive result from Kentucky officials on Saturday, he said. The test results were obtained by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Friday, Marc Guilfoil, executive director of the commission, said in a statement. ABC NewsKentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit fails drug test, trainer says

Does Bob Baffert drugs horses?

Last month, Baffert won an appeal with the Arkansas Racing Commission which issued a 15-day suspension over two positive drug tests involving his horses in May 2020. He said the horses were inadvertently exposed to the painkiller lidocaine. NPRKentucky Derby Winner Fails Drug Test, Renewing Scrutiny For Trainer Bob Baffert

Was Kentucky Derby winner disqualified?

In the end, Maximum Security was disqualified for coming off the rail and impeding the path of the horses chasing him. Country House was declared the winner. For the first time in the history of the race, the horse who crossed the finish line first was disqualified for interference and stripped of his title. nytimes.comKentucky Derby Winner’s DQ Won’t Change the Bets. Here’s Why.

Why did the Kentucky Derby winner get disqualified?

During a drug test conducted after Medina Spirit's winning race, the horse was found to have double the permitted levels of an anti-inflammatory steroid called betamethasone in his system. ForbesKentucky Derby Winner Could Lose More Than $1.8 Million If Disqualified

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit is headed to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes while trainer Bob Baffert said Monday that he won't attend the race to avoid being a distraction in the wake of scrutiny after the colt's failed postrace drug test.

Medina Spirit's Derby win by half a length over Mandaloun on May 1 gave Baffert his record seventh victory in the sport's premier race. That milestone win is now in jeopardy after Baffert's announcement Sunday that test results revealed the horse had the steroid betamethasone in his system. In August a new standard was passed that any detectable amount of betamethasone in race testing is a violation. Betamethasone is legal under Kentucky racing rules, though it must be cleared 14 days before a horse races.

Baffert is appealing the positive test, and part of the original sample will be retested. If the violation is upheld, Medina Spirit could be disqualified and runner-up Mandaloun elevated to winner.

The trainer has denied all wrongdoing and promised full transparency with Kentucky racing officials. Churchill Downs nonetheless suspended Baffert from entering horses at the track. The Maryland Jockey Club and Pimlico officials say they will decide on Medina Spirit's status in the Triple Crown's middle jewel after reviewing the facts.

Those events will unfold with Baffert back in California instead of at the race where he could get a record eighth victory.

"I go to Baltimore to have a good time. It's a fun trip," Baffert said. "I don't want to take away from the horses. I think it'd be a distraction if I went. I think it'd be a distraction if I win. The owners will be there. [Assistant trainer] Jimmy [Barnes] can handle it."

Whether Baffert is in Baltimore or not, the focus right now is on him and Medina Spirit.

Medina Spirit and Concert Tour, who skipped the Derby, were being transported by van to Baltimore and scheduled to arrive late Monday. The field for the 146th Preakness will be drawn Tuesday after the draw was pushed back a day because of the uncertainty.

In the meantime, Baffert continued to deal with the fallout from his fifth horse to have failed a drug test in over a year.

Medina Spirit was found to have 21 picograms of betamethasone, which is sometimes used to treat pain and inflammation in horses. It was the same drug found in Baffert-trained filly Gamine, who finished third in last fall's Kentucky Oaks before being disqualified after a test. Baffert was fined $1,500.

Baffert acknowledged the criticism he is receiving on social media and understands the public scrutiny of him as the face of horse racing. He also expressed disappointment with Churchill Downs officials for a statement announcing his suspension soon after he revealed the failed drug test.

"I thought I had had a pretty good relation[ship] with them with all the stuff I've done with my Triple Crown winners," he said. "I'm the face of the sport, and I'm trying to promote my sport. And that was a pretty low blow, what they did yesterday. I wish they would've called me."

With that, Baffert's hope is that Medina Spirit can make a strong showing in the Preakness and put the public skepticism to rest -- for now.

"I want him to run a good race because now everybody's piling on him," Baffert said. "It's probably more pressure now that he's got to run well."

Read full article at Fox News

Kentucky Derby: What happens to bets if Medina Spirit's win is overturned?

Yahoo Sports 11 May, 2021 - 01:03am

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

Medina Spirit’s win is now under investigation after blood tests determined an elevated presence of betamethasone, a regulated anti-inflammatory used to manage pain. Churchill Downs has suspended trainer Bob Baffert pending the final results of the investigation, which will include a second round of testing.

Baffert, a Hall of Fame trainer and (currently) winner of a record seven Kentucky Derbys, maintains innocence, saying Medina Spirit had never even been treated with betamethasone. 

If the second test comes back positive, Medina Spirit would lose the victory and Mandaloun will be named the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby. All prize money would then be taken from Medina Spirit’s team and awarded to Mandaloun’s.

However, as for the other money involved — the small-dollar bets laid down on Medina Spirit and others — that’s done and gone. There will be no refunds, and no awards to anyone still holding a Mandaloun ticket.

“All bets will stand as settled,” said John Ewing, data analyst for BetMGM. “The race result has already been determined official and paid. Disqualifications from positive drug tests will not change the results.”

Bob Heleringer, author of “Equine Regulatory Law,” told the Louisville Courier-Journal in 2019 that once a race is official, no later change by regulatory authorities has any effect on payouts. He termed it “one of the most irrevocable standards in racing.”

The reasons for an all-bets-are-settled policy are obvious. Reopening payouts after a changed result would be impossibly complex. Imagine, for instance, a baseball team whose best player, a record-breaking slugger, was found to have juiced throughout the latter half of his career. Would a sports book have to pay out all losing bets made against that team? Imagine a college basketball team that committed multiple recruiting violations and was stripped of its wins. Would bettors who laid money down on that team have to repay their winnings, since the wins no longer existed?

Of course not, on either count. The sportsbook must have faith in a sport’s regulating body to run a legitimate competition, and bettors’ winnings — and future wagers — ride on that faith.

The money involved is not insubstantial. Bettors wagered $2,871,557 on Medina Spirit to win at 12-1 odds through TwinSpires, the Kentucky Derby’s official betting partner. Another $1,352,157 was bet on Mandaloun to win at 26-1 odds. Those totals don’t include the wagering on place and show results, or any more exotic wages like exactas or trifectas.

Only two horses have ever been disqualified from the Kentucky Derby after winning. In 2019, Maximum Security crossed the finish line first, but judges determined the horse had illegally impeded other challengers. In that instance, the disqualification happened shortly after the Derby’s conclusion, before the race had been ruled official, so no payouts on Maximum Security were made.

The 1968 Kentucky Derby is a more comparable situation to 2021. In that race, Dancer’s Image won, and the race was declared official. A urine sample taken shortly after the race turned up positive for phenylbutazone, a painkiller, later that evening, and a Sunday re-test verified the result.

Churchill Downs made the news public on the Tuesday after the race: Dancer’s Image would be stripped of the win. “Bute” was not illegal but, like betamethasone, could not be administered immediately before a race. Dancer’s Image’s owner filed multiple appeals, and accusations and counter-accusations flew between owner, trainer, veterinarian and Churchill Downs. But ultimately Forward Pass remained the winner, then and now in historical records. The ruling did not affect payouts, which were made when the race was official.

The Medina Spirit story is only beginning. The outcome is uncertain, but if the second blood test turns up positive, it’s likely there will be a protracted fight over Medina Spirit’s legacy.

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram at @jaybusbee or contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com.

With House Republicans poised to strip Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from her leadership position, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., tore into his GOP colleagues for coddling former President Donald Trump and his false election claims.

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The fish towed their boat for more than half a mile.

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The Daily Beast 11 May, 2021 - 01:03am

‘A black eye’: Horse racing world grapples with doping controversy centered on its biggest star, Bob Baffert

Baltimore Sun 11 May, 2021 - 01:03am

It’s the white hair, the ever-present sunglasses and the wins — so many wins.

For many casual fans, Bob Baffert is modern horse racing, the one face they recognize in a sport that’s slipped from everyday consciousness. The Kentucky Derby is the one race every thoroughbred trainer and owner dreams of winning; Baffert has captured it a record seven times since 1997. The Triple Crown was the feat some historians regarded as a relic of the past, until Baffert won it with American Pharoah in 2015 and again with Justify in 2018.

He seemed to add another chapter to his legend May 1, when a modestly talented colt named Medina Spirit, who sold for a paltry $1,000 as a yearling, held off 18 challengers to deliver another Derby triumph. But this chapter took a dark turn Sunday when Baffert announced that Medina Spirit had tested positive for the anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone, a result that will cost him his victory if a split-sample test confirms it.

Churchill Downs, the home of the Derby, quickly suspended Baffert, and those casual fans who’ve cheered the trainer’s victories became aware of the doping allegations that have hovered around him in recent years.

Suddenly, the face of the sport also was the face of the complex issues that ail it.

“It gives horse racing a black eye,” said NBC analyst Randy Moss, who has covered the sport for more than 40 years. “Horse racing already has so many bullet holes in its feet from self-inflicted wounds that it’s amazing it’s as healthy as it is. This certainly doesn’t help.”

Moss sees several layers to the story, which still is unfolding as Baffert awaits word on a disqualification in Kentucky and prepares his horse for a Preakness Stakes run that might or might not happen.

Baffert, he said, must face punishment if the split-sample test shows he was careless in administering medication to Medina Spirit. At the same time, Moss said Medina Spirit should be allowed to run in the Preakness and that fans should understand the unlikelihood of Baffert using a tiny amount of the anti-inflammatory drug as a performance enhancer.

“The problem right now facing horse racing is that for noble reasons, the sport is trying to protect the animals and at the same time, protect its customers,” he said. “They’re doing their damnedest to try to get medication out of the race-day environment. But the testing is so sensitive that the sport has yet to be able to come to grips with exactly what that means. The thought that Medina Spirit shouldn’t be allowed to run in the Preakness, because he had 21 trillionths of a gram of approved therapeutic medication in his system, is just patently unfair.”

This is not a new story within the racing world, where failed drug tests for horses such as Justify, Gamine and Charlatan put an uncomfortable spotlight on Baffert in recent years.

Maryland-based trainer Graham Motion, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom and has competed against Baffert in many big races, said he was distressed to see the sport’s deep issues with doping bubble up around its most prominent race.

“I would like to be optimistic about our sport but today we are an embarrassment,” Motion wrote Sunday on Twitter in a post he did not intend as a direct criticism of Baffert. “Perhaps we have to hit rock bottom before things get better, but we only have ourselves and the leaders of our sport to blame. For anyone that loves the sport as much as I do, it’s a sad day.”

Baffert said Medina Spirit was never treated with betamethasone and promised to fight this “injustice” as he did with past medication violations by some of his prominent champions. His appeals of past doping penalties — in which he’s blamed environmental contamination, unreliable handling of evidence and other factors — have often succeeded.

Justify, for example, kept his victory in the 2018 Santa Anita Derby after Baffert successfully argued that a positive test for the anti-nausea drug scopolamine was caused by jimson weed in the future Triple Crown winner’s feed. In Arkansas, racing officials recently restored victories to Charlatan and Gamine and wiped away a 15-day suspension for Baffert, who argued that positive tests for the painkiller lidocaine might have been caused by a patch worn by his assistant, Jimmy Barnes.

Baffert has consistently painted himself as the victim of a broken system in which rules vary from state to state and doping violations can be triggered by minuscule traces of medications, such as betamethasone, that are permitted for therapeutic use.

“I’m worried about our sport,” he said when asked if he fears damage to his reputation. “Our sport has taken a lot of hits. These are pretty serious accusations here, but we’re going to get to the bottom of it. We know we didn’t do it.”

Baffert was concerned enough about the previous medication violations from his barn that in November, he hired an outside consultant, Kentucky-based veterinarian Michael Hore, to provide oversight. He said Sunday that he’ll conduct his own investigation into what happened with Medina Spirit and will be “transparent” in sharing information with Kentucky regulators.

On Monday, Baffert’s attorney, W. Craig Robertson III, told the Daily Racing Form that Churchill Downs violated due process by suspending the trainer before Medina Spirit’s split sample could be tested. He said he would file for a temporary restraining order if Preakness officials issue a similar suspension.

Also on Monday, Baffert said he would not accompany his horses, Medina Spirit and Concert Tour, to the Preakness. Medina Spirit arrived at Pimlico Race Course on Monday afternoon.

“I don’t want to be a distraction,” he said in a text. “It’s all about the horses.”

The sport has wrestled with these issues for decades. Though Medina Spirit would be just the second horse to lose a Derby victory to a drug test, it’s difficult to find a prominent trainer who has not been penalized for a doping violation at some point.

Dr. Dan Dreyfuss, who served as a racetrack veterinarian in Maryland for 27 years, said trainers are right to be concerned about the remarkable sensitivity of modern testing. At the same time, he added, rules are rules.

“Without speaking directly to one horse, [betamethasone] is a potent anti-inflammatory when used in joints, so it has the ability to make a joint feel better,” Dreyfuss said. “Is it performance enhancing in terms of taking a $5,000 claimer and making him a Kentucky Derby winner? No. But it certainly has the potential to make the horse travel better because of its anti-inflammatory effects.”

When asked about Baffert, he said: “If it were a first offense, I would have a very different viewpoint than I do given the fact that he’s been prominent in the news because of similar-type offenses.”

Anti-doping activists and racing officials are pinning their hopes on the Horse Racing Safety and Integrity Act, which became law in December and will create an independent, nongovernmental authority to patrol doping under a uniform federal policy. It will not take effect until July 2022.

Marty Irby, executive director of the nonprofit Animal Wellness Action, pointed to Medina Spirit’s medical violation as another example underscoring the need for federal oversight.

“If further investigation finds Medina Spirit legitimately tested positive for illegal drugs at the Kentucky Derby, then racing authorities should throw the book at those found guilty of violating the rules and punish them to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “American horse racing will be held to a higher standard — there’s no excuse for rigging the ‘fastest two minutes in sports,’ especially at the expense of the horse’s well-being.”

For now, powerful entities within the sport — including The Stronach Group, which owns and operates Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park — are attempting their own crackdown by prohibiting the widely used anti-bleeding drug Lasix at races such as the Derby and Preakness.

Medina Spirit’s positive test has thrust Preakness organizers into a difficult position ahead of Saturday’s race. Do they ban Medina Spirit for the possible missteps of his trainer, which might or might not have aided his performance in the Derby? Or do they let him run and anger critics of the sport who say there’s insufficient accountability for major figures such as Baffert?

“They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” Moss said.

TV: Chs. 11, 4 (4:30 p.m.)

Triple Crown series: Belmont, June 5

Will Medina Spirit race in the 146th Preakness Stakes?

WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore 11 May, 2021 - 01:03am

Bob Baffert

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