Medina Spirit Disqualified, Mandaloun Named Winner of 2021 Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission issued its ruling

Medina Spirit
146th Preakness Stakes: Closeup of jockey John Velazquez aboard Medina Spirit in action during race at Pimlico Race Course.
Simon Bruty/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

A controversy that’s persisted since last year has finally been resolved — and it’s left one prominent trainer with a hefty penalty. Last year, Medina Spirit placed first in the Kentucky Derby, but then failed a post-race drug test. Since then, questions have loomed around the competition and how the governing bodies involved would resolve the issue. Further complicating matters was Medina Spirit’s death in December while training.

Now, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has issued its ruling regarding the 2021 Kentucky Derby — and the race has a new winner. That would be Mandaloun, with Medina Spirit’s title win nullified.

For those curious about this decision’s effect on betting, the New York Times explained the rules surrounding disqualifications in the wake of last year’s Derby. Short version: any disqualification that isn’t immediate won’t affect bets made on the race.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, the biggest penalties were issued to trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert must return the prize winnings of $1.86 million; in addition, he must pay a $7,500 fine and faces a 90-day suspension. The Los Angeles Times notes that Baffert is likely to file an appeal, which will likely introduce more ambiguity into the proceedings. Will he blame “cancel culture” this time, too? Stay tuned.

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