Sports

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit collapses, dies in California

Medina Spirit, the three-year-old colt that won the Kentucky Derby and became embroiled in a controversy over a failed post-race drug test, collapsed and died Monday after a workout at Santa Anita racetrack in California.

Trainer Bob Baffert said in a statement that the 3-year-old colt suffered a heart attack

Medina Spirit, who won the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby in May, will undergo a full necropsy, which is required by the California Horse Racing Board. The three-year-old colt tested positive for the steroid betamethasone after winning the Derby and may still be stripped of the title. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Medina Spirit, the horse that won the Kentucky Derby and became embroiled in a controversy over a failed post-race drug test, collapsed and died Monday after a workout at Santa Anita racetrack in California. 

The three-year-old colt trained by Bob Baffert had just completed five furlongs in his second workout since finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Classic a month ago at Del Mar, Calif., according to Craig Robertson, Baffert's attorney. Baffert said in a statement that the horse suffered a heart attack.

"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, which is required by the California Horse Racing Board.

Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone after the May 1 Kentucky Derby. The drug is a legal medication that is not allowed on race day. It was Baffert's record seventh win in the Derby.

Last Friday, Robertson released a statement saying that 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.

WATCH | Medina Spirit captures Kentucky Derby crown:

Medina Spirit wins 147th Kentucky Derby to give trainer Bob Baffert record 7th Churchill Downs victory

2 years ago
Duration 1:41
Baffert gets the record Run for the Roses win while jockey John Velazquez picked up his fourth Kentucky Derby top finish.

Commission could still strip Medina Spirit of Derby win

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

In the $6 million US Breeders' Cup Classic, Medina Spirit couldn't muster the necessary late kick to threaten winner Knicks Go.

"I'm very proud of him. He ran a great race," Baffert said last month. "To me, he's the best three-year-old. He showed it today. That's what racing is all about, proving it on the racetrack. And he proved it today that he's the real deal."

Baffert was allowed to enter horses in the season-ending world championships, but the event's money-leading trainer had to meet certain conditions, including stricter out-of-competition testing of his horses and greater security at his barn. He agreed to the extra scrutiny and was required to pay for it out of his own pocket.

Medina Spirit had five wins in 10 career starts and earnings of $3,545,200, 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. "They are in our thoughts and prayers as we go through this difficult time."

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