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Kentucky Derby-winning horse tests positive for steroid dies suddenly

The announcement shakes the world of American horse racing. Horse Medina Spirit, whose last Kentucky Derby victory was overshadowed by a positive steroid control, died suddenly after a practice session in California on Monday, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) reported.

“The 3 year old Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, had just finished a training session on the main track in Santa Anita this (Monday) morning when he collapsed near the finish line. He died immediately, ”said the horse racing regulator in a statement to AFP. A heart problem is suspected.

“It’s called sudden death. All horses that die in CHRB-regulated facilities undergo a post-mortem examination in the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory. The cause of death cannot be determined until the necropsy and toxicological tests have been carried out, ”he said.

Dozens of deaths per year in Santa Anita

According to horse racing site Paulick Report, citing California Horse Racing Board medical director Jeff Blea, the horse’s blood, hair and urine will be analyzed. “We are going to take a close look at the heart to try to identify the cause of death,” he added.

Medina Spirit’s May 1 victory at the Kentucky Derby has been called into question after the horse tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory steroid that is banned for use within 14 days of competition.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is still investigating the case, while Churchill Downs, the organizing body of the famous event, has issued a two-year ban on trainer Bob Baffert, who has denied any wrongdoing. Baffert, who led his horses in 2015 and 2018 to the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes), had claimed the steroid was contained in an ointment used to treat a skin condition from which Medina Spirit suffered.

The Santa Anita trail, owned by the Stronach family, is regularly in the crosshairs of the California authorities. Thirty-seven competition horses died there in 2019, and 23 in 2020.


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