The Thoroughbred Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner, dies after breaking down after training


Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit collapsed and died Monday after training in Santa Anita.

According to Craig Robertson, Baffert’s attorney, the three-year-old stallion, who was trained by Bob Baffert, had just completed five furlongs in his second training session since finishing second at the Breeders’ Cup Classic a month ago in Del Mar. Baffert said in a statement that the horse suffered a heart attack.

“My whole barn is devastated by this news,” said Baffert. “Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family loved by everyone, and we deeply mourn his loss. I will always cherish the proud and personal memories of Medina Spirit and his great spirit.”

Santa Anita released a statement stating that the track’s veterinary team collected blood, hair and urine samples from Medina Spirit and sent them to the California Horse Racing Board. The colt will undergo a full autopsy, as requested by race management, to determine the exact cause of death.

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Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, a legal drug not allowed on race day, after the Kentucky Derby on May 1. It was Baffert’s seventh record win in the derby. After Medina Spirit’s failed test, Baffert was suspended from Churchill Downs and banned from participating in the 2022 and 2023 Kentucky Derbies. He was also banned by the New York Racing Association from starting horses on the Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct tracks.

On Friday, Robertson released a statement saying that tests conducted by a New York laboratory “definitely confirmed” that Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid – not from an injection but from an ointment used to treat a rash.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has been investigating the case and has yet to hold a hearing that could potentially disqualify Medina Spirit.

In the $ 6 million BC Classic, Medina Spirit couldn’t muster the late kick it needed to threaten the Knicks Go winner.

“I’m very proud of him. He ran a great race,” said Baffert last month. “For me he’s the best three-year-old. He showed it today. That’s what racing is about to prove it on the racetrack. And he proved today that he is the real deal.”

Baffert was allowed to use horses for the end-of-season World Championships, but the event’s coach in charge of the event had to meet certain conditions, including more stringent testing of his horses outside of competitions and more security in his stable. He agreed to the additional control and had to pay for it out of pocket.

Medina Spirit had five wins in 10 career starts and a profit of $ 3,545,200, according to Equibase. The colt belonged to Amr Zedan, who competes as Zedan Racing Stables.

“Our deepest condolences go to Mr. Amr Zedan and the entire Zedan Racing Stables family,” said Baffert in his statement on Monday. “They are on our thoughts and prayers as we go through this difficult time.”