Trainer: Kentucky Derby winner faces disqualification due to ‘cancel culture’

Bob Baffert, whose horse faces disqualification from the Kentucky Derby after a failed drugs test, has blamed the situation on “cancel culture”.

Medina Spirit won this month’s Derby by half a length at Churchill Downs but on Sunday it emerged the horse had tested positive for double the legal amount of the steroid betamethasone after the race. Churchill Downs has suspended Baffert from entering horses at the track, and indicated it would invalidate Medina Spirit’s victory if the results of the drug test are upheld.

During an appearance on Fox News on Monday, Baffert appeared to suggest he was a victim of larger forces. “Churchill Downs came out with that statement – that was pretty harsh,” said Baffert. “With all the noise … We live in a different world now. This America is different. It was like a cancel culture kind of a thing so they’re reviewing it. I haven’t been told anything.”

Baffert insists he will run Medina Spirit on Saturday in the next leg of US racing’s Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes. The draw for the race has been moved back to Tuesday as the controversy around Medina Spirit unfolds, although Baffert believes the investigation will take “months” to complete.

Baffert has had at least 30 positive doping tests for his horses, but insisted to Fox that he runs a clean operation.

“We live in a new world now. These horses don’t live in a bubble,” he said. “They’re in an open farm. People are touching them. He went from the Derby to after the Derby everybody’s out there touching them. I mean there’s so many ways these horses can get contaminated and when they’re testing at these really ridiculously low levels … I’ve been saying it for over a year now these are gonna get innocent people in trouble and this is what happened now.”

Baffert also suggested on Monday that Medina Spirit may have tested positive after a groom took cough medicine and urinated on some hay, which the horse then ate.

“We did not cheat to win the Kentucky Derby,” he said. “I want to protect my legacy. I’ve trained great horses. I’ve trained the best horses that have run through there. My record proves it. This is horrible what has happened. The horse never got that medication. It’s an injustice to the horse. He’s a great horse. He ran hard. He deserved to win that race and it kills me because these horses are like my children and for something to happen to him like that is horrible.”