Bob Baffert Suspended from Belmont Stakes After Medina Spirit's Failed Drug Test

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 17, 2021

Trainer Bob Baffert at a press conference after Medina Spirit won the 147th Running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Medina Spirit won the 147th Kentucky Derby on Saturday evening, awarding a seventh Kentucky Derby win to Baffert and a fourth to jockey John Velazquez. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

There will be no Triple Crown winner in 2021, but even if Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit came away with the win at the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, he wouldn't be able to complete the trio at the Belmont Stakes.

The New York Racing Association suspended legendary trainer Bob Baffert, and neither he nor his horses will be allowed on New York racetracks this summer amid the investigation into Medina Spirit's failed drug test. 

Medina Spirit tested positive for an illegal amount of the steroid betamethasone in a post-Kentucky Derby screening. The horse's victory could be revoked, pending the results of a split sample test. 

Mandaloun, the runner-up, would be declared the winner if Medina Spirit also fails the secondary test. Baffert has denied any cheating, calling the developments "the biggest gut punch in racing." Churchill Downs suspended the trainer from the facility on Sunday. 

The New York Racing Authority's decision also cited Baffert's previous history with "failed drug tests in the recent past." Medina Spirit is Baffert's fifth horse to have failed a drug test in a little over a year, per ESPN

"In order to maintain a successful thoroughbred racing industry in New York, NYRA must protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants,"  New York Racing Association chief executive David O’Rourke said in a statement (h/t Joe Drape of the New York Times). "That responsibility demands the action taken today in the best interests of thoroughbred racing." 

In addition to staying away from Belmont Park, the trainer cannot race at Aqueduct or Saratoga Race Track or have stalls at the three tracks. 

Baffert, a two-time Triple Crown winner who won his record seventh Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit, didn't travel to Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness Stakes, where his champion finished in third place and passed all drug tests.