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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Churchill Downs Press Statement, Sunday, May 9, 2021-` It is our understanding that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample indicated a violation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s equine medication protocols. The connections of Medina Spirit have the right to request a test of a split sample and we understand they intend to do so. To be clear, if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner.  

Failure to comply with the rules and medication protocols jeopardizes the safety of the horses and jockeys, the integrity of our sport and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby and all who participate. Churchill Downs will not tolerate it. Given the seriousness of the alleged offense, Churchill Downs will immediately suspend Bob Baffert, the trainer of Medina Spirit, from entering any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack. We will await the conclusion of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commissions’ investigation before taking further steps.

About Churchill Downs Incorporated

Churchill Downs Incorporated is an industry-leading racing, online wagering and gaming entertainment company anchored by our iconic flagship event, the Kentucky Derby. We own and operate three pari-mutuel gaming entertainment venues with approximately 3,050 historical racing machines in Kentucky. We also own and operate TwinSpires, one of the largest and most profitable online wagering platforms for horse racing, sports and iGaming in the U.S. and we have seven retail sportsbooks. We are also a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming in eight states with approximately 11,000 slot machines and video lottery terminals and 200 table games. Additional information about CDI can be found online at

Certain statements made in this news release contain various “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the use of terms such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” and similar words or similar expressions (or negative versions of such words or expressions). 

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Important factors, among others, that may materially affect actual results or outcomes include the following: the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and related economic matters on our results of operations, financial conditions and prospects; the occurrence of extraordinary events, such as terrorist attacks, public health threats, civil unrest, and inclement weather; the effect of economic conditions on our consumers’ confidence and discretionary spending or our access to credit; additional or increased taxes and fees; the impact of significant competition, and the expectation the competition levels will increase; changes in consumer preferences, attendance, wagering, and sponsorships; loss of key or highly skilled personnel; lack of confidence in the integrity of our core businesses or any deterioration in our reputation; risks associated with equity investments, strategic alliances and other third-party agreements; inability to respond to rapid technological changes in a timely manner; concentration and evolution of slot machine manufacturing and other technology conditions that could impose additional costs; inability to negotiate agreements with industry constituents, including horsemen and other racetracks; inability to successfully expand our TwinSpires Sports and Casino business and effectively compete; inability to identify and complete expansion, acquisition or divestiture projects, on time, on budget or as planned; difficulty in integrating recent or future acquisitions into our operations; costs and uncertainties relating to the development of new venues and expansion of existing facilities; general risks related to real estate ownership and significant expenditures, including fluctuations in market values and environmental regulations; reliance on our technology services and catastrophic events and system failures disrupting our operations; online security risk, including cyber-security breaches, or loss or misuse of our stored information as a result of a breach, including customers’ personal information, could lead to government enforcement actions or other litigation; personal injury litigation related to injuries occurring at our racetracks; compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or applicable money-laundering regulations; payment-related risks, such as risk associated with fraudulent credit card and debit card use; work stoppages and labor issues; risks related to pending or future legal proceedings and other actions; highly regulated operations and changes in the regulatory environment could adversely affect our business; restrictions in our debt facilities limiting our flexibility to operate our business; failure to comply with the financial ratios and other covenants in our debt facilities and other indebtedness; and increase in our insurance costs, or obtain similar insurance coverage in the future, and inability to recover under our insurance policies for damages sustained at our properties in the event of inclement weather and casualty events.

We do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

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7 Responses

  1. This is unbelievable that Bob could let this happen in the position he is in, probably will fall on Jimmy Barnes who really trains the horses. Wonder if Bob learned to drug horses at Race Horse College he went to. It is so sad when people try to take down the sport of Kings like this. Bob could be done this time as the public seem to be against him. Kat Price

    1. Yeah because he’s never been a cheater right? Give me a break. The guy has been pushing it for decades. You might want to do some research on his past, including in quarter horses.

      1. Yep – why are these positive samples CONSTANTLY coming up from his horses, while other top trainers don’t seem to be having the same issues? At some point, his words are meaningless, and I think that point arrived quite some time ago. Best thing for everyone would be if he hung it up and called it a career, and lets racing heal. But people that self centered don’t really think that way, so no chance of that happening. He’s just going to continue to play the victim. Poor Bob.

  2. I watched the video interview that Bob gave this morning and I do think he is telling the truth, the look on his face and the utter shock on his face and his wife. Well he is a target because he wins everything and I can tell from experience that anything and everything is possible
    and he could be being set up. Kat Price

  3. Robin, HRI regulars know I’ve been writing on Bob Baffert’s travails for years, the result of the sudden equine death syndrome in California not long after the story first broke in 2013…

  4. Kat, must confess that because of the suspicious nature of American politics since 2016 I mentioned to my wife Sunday morning that it’s so hard to accept things at face value, saying “I wonder if this whole thing as orchestrated, that indeed records will show MS was not administered betamethasone, his is ‘innocent’ in this matter and that all the allegations and former positives were the result of a jealousy witch hunt.” Do I believe that’s what happened? No. But do I also believe that in this ‘control-the-message’ atmosphere that anything is possible. I, and an entire industry, is waiting to see how this all shakes out. It’s not paranoia, just healthy skepticism.

  5. John I must confess the look on his face made me hope he was not lying but I see your point, how many stories are there? The FBI says that there are no coincidences therefore Bob is in big trouble. But if others trainers want to win who is in their way? Bob, when something is good it is Ok, but if something is too good well they have to go. I can only hope this new law will help get rid of these men and clean up the business. Kat

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