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Horse Racing

Bob Baffert Admits Horse’s Butt Fungus Treatment, Not Cancel Culture Nor Pee Whoopsie, Caused Positive Test

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 02: Kentucky Derby Trainer Bob Baffert looks on during morning workouts in preparation for the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Bob Baffert, the Kentucky Derby’s first human main character in some years, has spent the past 72 hours mounting a series of increasingly baroque defenses of Derby winner Medina Spirit in the wake of his positive test for betamethasone. Highlights include: yawping in uncannily Trumpian prose about the need to “get to the bottom” of “these accusations”; lamenting the PC woke mob of keyboard warriors canceling his poor colt; and, finally, wondering whether Medina Spirit simply ate some soiled (by human pee) hay. Baffert’s attorney threatened legal action against the Pimlico Race Course if they were to keep Medina Spirit out of the Preakness, and Baffert himself said he’d stay away from the race so as not to be a distraction. The specifics of his defense are very overwrought, but his point is that his horse was not purposefully given any betamethasone.

As it turns out, yeah, Medina Spirit was given betamethasone. On Tuesday, Baffert released the results of what he called an “investigation,” revealing that his prized horse had developed “dermatitis on his hind end,” which he treated with Otomax (it’s typically used to treat dog ear infections, though it can cause permanent hearing loss).

Whether or not Medina Spirit’s positive test was the result of his butt fungus treatment regimen, he will still be stripped of his Kentucky Derby win if a second test of his sample comes up positive for betamethasone. Baffert’s admission that Medina Spirit was given the banned steroid by his treatment team would seem to undercut his claim that he’d file a restraining order if his horse was kept out of the Preakness, though we should find out if he’s banned at some point today. A spokesperson for the Maryland Jockey Club told Horse Racing Nation of the decision, “There have been a number of topics discussed. Hopefully we get there before 4:00 p.m.” Presumably they will weigh the butt fungus defense.