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Medina Spirit clear to run in 2021 Preakness Stakes after passing second wave of drug tests

Kentucky Derby champion Medina Spirit will run in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes after passing three rounds of drug testing required by the Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Racing Commission.

The Jockey Club announced Friday afternoon that Medina Spirit, the 9-5 morning-line favorite, tested clean on two blood samples taken earlier this week. Trainer Bob Baffert’s other Preakness entry, Concert Tour, and his Black-Eyed Susan entry, Beautiful Gift, also passed their drug tests.

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

On Thursday, the Jockey Club announced the three Baffert-trained horses had passed an initial round of testing based on samples drawn May 6. The Maryland Racing Commission also drew samples on May 10, and the Jockey Club drew another set of samples on May 11.

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As part of his agreement to secure entries for the three horses, Baffert also shared medical records for Medina Spirit. 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.

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.

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