Edited Press Release — Medina Spirit will be permitted to enter 146th Preakness Stakes with conditions. Trainer Bob Baffert Agrees to Grant Full Access to Medical and Testing Results for Medina Spirit, Concert Tour and Beautiful Gift as a Condition of Entry
1/ST RACING and the Maryland Jockey Club announced today that Medina Spirit will be permitted to enter into the 146th Preakness Stakes (GI) to be run on Saturday, May 15th with rigorous conditions to entry along with a binding commitment from Bob Baffert to full transparency of medical and testing results that will allow for all results to be released to the public.
The decision comes following the May 9th announcement of a reported medication positive of betamethasone, an allowable therapeutic, as a result of the post-race blood sample testing following the 147th Kentucky Derby involving Medina Spirit trained by Bob Baffert. Baffert has disputed those claims.
As a condition of acceptance of the entry, Baffert has provided his consent to the Maryland Jockey Club to allow for rigorous testing and monitoring in addition to that conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission (MRC).
Those additional tests and monitoring are to ensure the fairness and integrity of the races entered by horses trained by Baffert, which are the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (GII) and the 146th Preakness Stakes (GI). A copy of Baffert’s consent agreement is attached. It has also been provided by Baffert to the MRC.
Medina Spirit and Concert Tour are presently entered into the 146th Preakness Stakes and Beautiful Gift in the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. All graded stakes races will be run free of race day medications.
Consistent with the fair procedures and practices established by 1/ST RACING and MJC, Baffert consents to the disclosure of information and results of the MRC and MJC tests, along with other relevant medical and administrative records to the MJC and Dr. Dionne Benson, Chief Veterinary Officer, 1/ST RACING.
If any of the three Baffert horses test positive for a banned substance, or at a level for a permitted therapeutic substance that is above the designated limit, or if after medical review, reasonable conditions warrant, Baffert or MJC on his behalf, will scratch the horse in question.
“Integrity, accountability and safety in our sport are principles that 1/ST RACING puts above all else. Our company has a track record of instituting process and protocols that have led to nationwide medication reforms and we are unwavering in our commitment to put horse and rider safety at the forefront,” said Craig Fravel, Chief Executive Officer, 1/ST RACING. “We are well aware of the public outcry and calls for action that have been the natural outcome of a medication positive in one of the most iconic races in our sport and we share the disappointment and concern.
We are required to acknowledge in this instance that fundamental fairness compels us to respect the individual rights of participants in our sport to due process and adherence to agreed-upon and well-established rules. To this point, there has to our knowledge been no split sample testing as is required in every state in this country and no complaint or other official action has been announced by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission with regard to this incident. While the integrity of our sport is of utmost importance it is the responsibility of those in authority to follow the rules even as we seek to enforce them. We cannot make things up as we go along and we trust that the competitors, bettors and fans will understand the importance of adhering to that principle.”
The Preakness meet operates under stringent veterinary testing protocols that are established and overseen by the Maryland Racing Commission’s Equine Medical Director, Dr. Elizabeth Daniel. These protocols are shared with all trainers the month leading up to the Preakness and include, as examples:
- Out of Competition Testing that can be administered at any time prior to and on race day; samples are sent to two independent laboratories for testing
- All horses racing on Black-Eyed Susan Day and on Preakness Day are subject to TCO2 within minutes of the race
- Horses entered on Black-Eyed Susan Day and on Preakness Day will be examined daily by either a regulatory veterinarian or an association veterinarian and a consulting board certified equine surgeon
- On both Black-Eyed Susan Day and on Preakness Day, four Maryland Racing Commission veterinarians will be observing horses on the track for soundness in addition to three 1/ST RACING veterinarians, including Dr. Dionne Benson, Chief Veterinary Officer,1/ST RACING
- Any horse that is deemed unfit for racing by the Maryland Racing Commission veterinary team will be recommended to be scratched by stewards
For additional information on Preakness 146 Veterinary Protocols, please visit https://www.preakness.com/veterinary-coverage.