Kentucky Derby winner could be DISQUALIFIED and trainer forced to repay £1.3m prize money with runner-up named champ

KENTUCKY DERBY winner Medina Spirit could be disqualifed and trainer Bob Baffert ordered to repay £1.3million in winnings.

Runner-up Mandaloun could also be promoted to champion if a second drug test confirms the findings of the first.

Getty Images – Getty

Baffert denies any wrongdoing but could be forced to repay his winnings if a second test upholds the findings of the first[/caption]

Racing has been rocked by news of 12-1 hero Medina Spirit’s failed drugs test.

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Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, 68, announced the shock findings last Sunday and strongly denied any wrongdoing, saying the results were a ‘gut punch’.

Medina Spirit – a true rags-to-riches tale after being bought for just £723 – faces being wiped from the record books after betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory steroid, was found in his system.

Baffert said he had no idea how the drug got into the horse – who Donald Trump labelled a ‘junky’.

The trainer, whose victory on May 1 was a record seventh in the Derby, said: “I don’t know what’s going on in racing right now, but something’s not right.

“I don’t feel embarrassed, I feel like I was wronged.

“This horse was never treated with that. He’s a great horse, he doesn’t deserve this.”

However, Churchill Downs, which hosts the Derby, has suspended Baffert with immediate effect and said Medina Spirit’s win will be wiped ‘if the findings are upheld’.

Reuters

Mandaloun, the horse who finished second, could be promoted to winner[/caption]

A statement read: “Failure to comply with the rules and medication protocols jeopardises 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.

“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.

“We will await the conclusion of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s investigation before taking further steps.”

The Daily Mail report that Baffert could also be made to repay his winnings, which amount to £1.3m.

Racing has precedent for a similar stance in light of positive drug findings.

Getty

Racing has been rocked by news of Medina Spirit’s positive drugs test[/caption]

Saudi Cup organisers last year withheld the £14.2m winning prize for the Saudi Cup after the champion trainer was named in a doping probe.

However, punters who backed Medina Spirit can keep their winnings.

But those who went for Mandaloun will not be paid out even if the horse – who picked up just under £426,000 for coming second – is declared the winner.

Baffert, who last month had a ban overturned after two of his horses were found with an illegal painkiller in their systems, vowed to fight the findings.

He said: “I’m going to fight it tooth and nail, because I owe it to the horse, I owe it to the owner and I owe it to our industry.

“I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I know everybody is not out to get me, but there is definitely something wrong. Why is it happening to me?”

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