Medina Spirit, horse at heart of Kentucky Derby controversy, dies while training

The Guardian
The Guardian
Medina Spirit died at the Santa Anita track on Monday.

Medina Spirit, the horse at the centre of a doping controversy at this year’s Kentucky Derby, has died during a workout.

The colt suffered a suspected heart attack while working out at California’s Santa Anita track on Monday.

“Near the end of his breeze this morning, he did not feel right and his rider tried to pull him up,” Jeff Blea, the equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board, told the New York Times. “He went down. Our vet on the scene got there immediately and he was already expired.”

Medina Spirit was a central character in one of US racing’s biggest controversies in decades. He crossed the line first in May’s race but failed a post-race drugs test. His trainer, Bob Baffert, was banned from entering horses at the Kentucky Derby for two years after the controversy. He denied deliberately doping the horse, which had been a 12-1 outsider to win the race, and blamed the failed test on an ointment used to treat a rash on Medina Spirit.

Medina Spirit had enjoyed recent success, finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. Baffert has yet to comment on the death. An attorney for the horse’s owner, Amr Zedan, told the New York Times his client and Baffert were “wracked with grief” over the death.

Comments / 11

Brian Jhagroo

If all the trainers were held to more rigorous testing for their horses these deaths would not be so high. Like a lot of sports, trainers and athletes are always looking for a competitive edge including boxing.


They need to stop racing horses and dogs. It’s inhumane. They give them steroids and god know what else to the animals. It’s enough that they ride horses. I don’t even care for bull riding and all the rodeoing they use the poor animals for. The fha? groom and fatten the animals to auction and then to slaughter. I feel sorry for them. I hated the thought as a kid and I still don’t. ☹️

Susan Daniel

put Bob baffert in prison he probably overdosed he should not be allowed to be anywhere near a racehorse in 1972 they put a walking horse trainer in prison for burning his horses feet what is wrong with people


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