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Preakness favorite Medina Spirit passes first round of mandated drug testing; more results expected Friday

Kentucky Derby champion Medina Spirit passed an initial drug test required by the Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Racing Commission as a condition for entering the Preakness on Saturday.

Results for two more rounds of testing will be released by 3 p.m. Friday, the Jockey Club announced. Trainer Bob Baffert’s other Preakness entry, Concert Tour, and his Black-Eyed Susan entry, Beautiful Gift, also passed the initial round of tests, which were based on samples drawn May 6. The Maryland Racing Commission also drew samples Monday, and the Jockey Club drew another set of samples Tuesday.

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Baffert has agreed to scratch any of his horses who fail a test. Medina Spirit tested positive for the anti-inflammatory betamethasone in a blood test taken after his victory in the Derby on May 1. If a test of his split sample also comes back positive for the drug, he will likely lose his Derby victory.

Baffert also shared medical records for Medina Spirit, a 9-5 favorite in the morning line for the Preakness. The Jockey Club said these records showed treatment with the antifungal ointment Otomax, which contains betamethasone, on April 9 and April 19. Preakness organizers verified the records by comparing them with confidential veterinary records obtained from the California Horse Racing Board.

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Baffert said Tuesday that Otomax could be to blame for Medina Spirit’s test failure. He had previously said the Derby champion was never treated with betamethasone, which is used to reduce pain and swelling in a horse’s joints.

“While we acknowledge the challenging circumstances that prompted this further need for transparency, it reflects, above all else, that the principles of integrity, accountability, and safety in our sport are nonnegotiable,” said Craig Fravel, chief executive officer for the Jockey Club’s parent company, 1/ST Racing.

Baffert did not travel to Baltimore for Preakness week, but his top assistant, Jimmy Barnes, has said Medina Spirit is training perfectly on the track at Pimlico Race Course.

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