Bob Baffert Calls Suspension amid Medina Spirit Positive Test 'Cancel Culture'

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIIMay 10, 2021

Trainer Bob Baffert watches workouts at Churchill Downs Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 1. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Legendary trainer Bob Baffert believes that his suspension amid the positive drug test from his Kentucky Derby winner is a sign of the times.

"We live in a different world now," Baffert said in an appearance on Fox News' America's Newsroom With Bell Hemmer & Dana Perino (h/t Jason Frakes of the Louisville Courier Journal). "This America is different. It was like a cancel culture kind of a thing." 

Churchill Downs suspended Baffert after his horse, Medina Spirit, tested positive for an illegal amount of betamethasone following his Kentucky Derby victory. Churchill Downs said in a press release it will wait for the results of a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission investigation "before taking further steps." 

"Failure to comply with the rules and medication protocols jeopardizes the safety of the horses and jockeys, the integrity of our sport and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby and all who participate,” the Churchill Downs statement read. "Churchill Downs will not tolerate it."

He is still slated to run Medina Spirit and a second horse, Concert Tour, at the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore on Saturday. Officials are awaiting "review of the facts" before determining Baffert's eligibility for the race. According to the Daily Racing Form (via Frakes), Baffert's attorney is planning to file a temporary restraining order that won't allow Pimlico to ban him.  

Still, Baffert is not traveling to Baltimore because he doesn't want to "be a distraction," according to ESPN

In a press conference after the announcement of the failed drug test, Baffert denied the allegations and called the news "the biggest gut punch in racing." He plans to launch his own investigation into the matter with his seventh Kentucky Derby victory—a new record—on the line. 

"People in the public don't understand," Baffert said in his television appearance. "People in my world, they understand this is all B.S. Bob Baffert's not stupid. ... We don't use that drug. That horse never had it in him, and we have the documentation."

This is not the first incidence of a Baffert-trained horse failing drug tests. Most recently, his horse Gamine finished third at the Kentucky Oaks but became the subject of a controversy after she tested positive for betamethasone. She was later disqualified

Per ESPN, this is the fifth failed drug test for a Baffert horse in more than a year. 

He said the result of Medina Spirit's split sample test, which will determine whether or not he is disqualified, will not be complete for months. If Medina Spirit is disqualified, Mandaloun will be crowned the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby.