2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit dies at Santa Anita

The specter bordering Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit took the most terrible of turns Monday early morning when the 3-12 months-old colt collapsed and died on the track after a exercise session at Santa Anita.

A necropsy will be performed, whilst early indications level to a coronary heart attack.

Medina Spirit and his coach, Bob Baffert, have been at the center of a nationwide controversy just after the horse analyzed constructive for a lawful medicine, but not authorized on race day, just after profitable the Derby. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has not charged Baffert with anything or stripped Medina Spirit of the get, pending a listening to and improved screening effects. Churchill Downs has banned the Corridor of Fame trainer from its monitor for two several years.

Medina Spirit experienced just finished a 5-furlong exercise session around 7:45 a.m. when he collapsed.

“At the end of the breeze, he was slowing down at the wire,” stated Jeff Blea, equine health care director for the California Horse Racing Board. “Right soon after the wire, he looked odd, and you could see the horse stagger and then he just laid down earlier the wire. Track vets bought to him right away, but he was by now gone. These sorts of things are presumed to be cardiovascular events, but the necropsy will explain to us additional.”

Laurie Bohannon, senior veterinarian at Santa Anita, took blood, hair and urine samples from the colt to get started the common necropsy approach. The samples had been sent to the condition testing laboratory at UC Davis, as will the physique.

This sort of incident is known as “sudden death” and the necropsy is a lot more complete as opposed to that soon after a muscular-skeletal incident, additional typically known as a breakdown.

“There is far more toxicology and forensics,” Blea said. “But presented the substantial-profile character of this, it will be a priority.”

Baffert was on-site when the incident happened.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit is bathed soon after a exercise session forward of the Preakness Stakes in Might.

(Julio Cortez / Linked Press)

“My overall barn is devastated by this information,” Baffert explained in a assertion. “Medina Spirit was a good champion, a member of our relatives who was cherished by all, and we are deeply mourning his reduction. I will constantly cherish the very pleased and personal memories of Medina Spirit and his tremendous spirit.

“Our most honest condolences go out to Mr. Amr Zedan and the overall Zedan Racing Stables relatives. They are in our ideas and prayers as we go as a result of this challenging time.”

Medina Spirit’s rise to the major of the horse racing world was a little bit of a shock for a $35,000 Florida-bred acquire. There often appeared to be a horse that was just a little bit improved than him, as he finished at the rear of stablemate Lifetime Is Great in the Sham Stakes and San Felipe Stakes. He was next to Rock Your Earth in the Santa Anita Derby.

Heading into the Kentucky Derby, Baffert even confided to reporters that he “wasn’t the ideal horse in the race.” But the most effective horse doesn’t usually acquire, as Medina Spirit showed strength in the extend of the 1¼-mile race and refused to give up the direct and received by 50 percent a size.

It was a 7 days later that Baffert held an impromptu information meeting exterior his barn at Churchill Downs, wherever he reported he was informed that Medina Spirit had analyzed constructive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory. Baffert claimed that he did not know how the substance acquired into the horse but that a comprehensive investigation would begin. Two times later, he stated the supply was an ointment that was getting made use of to deal with a rash on the horse’s hind end.

Betamethasone is not regarded as a functionality-maximizing drug in the traditional feeling, other than if it makes horses really feel greater, they could accomplish much better.

Medina Spirit came back again and concluded third in the Preakness, the next leg of the Triple Crown. He was then despatched off for some rest and won the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar and the Wonderful Again Stakes at Santa Anita. His past race was a second in the Breeders’ Cup Common, running from more mature horses. He was scheduled to return as a 4-year-previous.

Monday’s dying will no question switch the warmth up on horse racing in Southern California, which was producing considerable development in lessening fatalities at the monitor after 2019 when 37 horses died at Santa Anita. The CHRB is anticipated to make this a entrance-burner challenge and make confident almost everything is outside of reproach.

It is only the 2nd racing or schooling death in Baffert’s barn in the very last a few a long time. The very first was in 2019 when a runaway horse collided into a Baffert horse through exercise sessions at Del Mar. Medina Spirit was the next fatality.

The saga of Medina Spirit still has to participate in out in Kentucky both of those with the KHRC and Churchill Downs.

On Friday, Baffert’s lawyer produced the success of extra tests that showed the urine of the horse experienced betamethasone valerate, which appears only in ointments, rather of betamethasone acetate, which exhibits up in injections. It is their contention that the rule applies only to injections.

The KHRC will now choose if that is the scenario or if it desires to consider absent a Kentucky Derby win from a dead horse.