Derby winner Medina Spirit collapses, dies

Beth HarrisAP
Medina Spirit, who won the Kentucky Derby in May ridden by John Velazquez, has collapsed and died.
Camera IconMedina Spirit, who won the Kentucky Derby in May ridden by John Velazquez, has collapsed and died. Credit: AP

Medina Spirit, a 3-year-old colt whose Kentucky Derby victory in May came under scrutiny because of a positive drug test, has collapsed and died after a workout in Southern California.

Trainer Bob Baffert said in a statement that the horse suffered a heart attack.

The colt had just completed five furlongs in his second workout since finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Classic a month ago at Del Mar.

"My entire barn is devastated by this news," Baffert said.

"Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we are deeply mourning his loss.

"I will always cherish the proud and personal memories of Medina Spirit and his tremendous spirit."

The colt will undergo a full necropsy, as required by the racing board, to try to determine the exact cause of death.

Medina Spirit had five wins in 10 career starts and earnings of $3,545,200 ($A5m), according to Equibase.

The colt was owned by Amr Zedan, who competes as Zedan Racing Stables.

"Our most sincere condolences go out to Mr. Amr Zedan and the entire Zedan Racing Stables family," Baffert said in his statement Monday.

"They are in our thoughts and prayers as we go through this difficult time."

Medina Spirit tested positive after his May 1 Kentucky Derby win for betamethasone, a legal medication that is not allowed on race day.

The victory was Baffert's record seventh win in the Derby.

But in the wake of Medina Spirit's failed test, Baffert was suspended by Churchill Downs and barred from entering horses in the 2022 and 2023 Kentucky Derbies.

He also was banned by the New York Racing Association from entering horses at its Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct tracks.

Craig Robertson, Baffert's attorney, released a statement last Friday that said tests done by a New York lab have "definitely confirmed" Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid -- not through an injection but due to an ointment used to treat a skin rash.

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

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