After The Kentucky Derby Winner Was Caught Cheating, What Happens To All The Gambling Winnings?
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 01: Medina Spirit #8, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, (R) crosses the finish line to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of Mandaloun #7, ridden by Florent Geroux, and Hot Rod Charlie #9 ridden by Flavien Prat , and Essential Quality #14, ridden by Luis Saez, at Churchill Downs on May 01, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

With the horse racing world in the midst of another doping scandal, the winner of the Kentucky Derby isn’t the only result in question. 

Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby victory is up in the air after it was reported last Sunday that the horse had nearly double the legal limits of betamethasone — a banned performance-enhancing substance. The horse’s trainer, Bob Baffert, initially denied any wrongdoing but released a statement Tuesday blaming the positive test on an anti-fungal ointment Otomax used on Medina Spirit to treat dermatitis. 

Following the Santa Anita Derby, MEDINA SPIRIT developed dermatitis on his hind end. I had him checked out by veterinarian who recommended the use of an anti-fungal ointment called Otomax. The veterinary recommendation was to apply this ointment daily to give the horse relief, help heal the dermatitis, and prevent dirt from spreading. My barn followed this recommendation and MEDINA SPIRIT was treated with Otomax once a day up until the day before the Kentucky Derby. Yesterday, I was informed that one of the substances in Otomax was betamethasone. While we do not know definitively that this was the source of the alleged 21 picograms found in Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample, and our investigation is continuing, I have been told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results. As such, I wanted to be forthright about this fact as soon as I learned of this information.  

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and Churchill Downs are waiting on the results from a second test to determine if Medina Spirit will be disqualified as the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby. The runner-up, Mandaloun, would be declared the winner if the positive test is confirmed. 

And that won’t put an end to the controversy. 

Of all sports, horse racing may be the one tied most closely to the betting world. All horses are given betting odds before each race and it’s ultimately what drives attention to the sport. 

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So what happens to the money that was paid out to those who bet that Medina Spirit would win The Derby? According to horse racing author Bob Heleringer — nothing. 

Heleringer said that, once the race is official, the betting results are final regardless of mistakes by the track, or the result of an appeal, calling the rule “one of the most irrevocable standards in racing.”

While all prize money will be taken away from Medina Spirit and given to Mandaloun, the betting money won on Medina Spirit will not change hands. If the findings are upheld, it will be the first time since 1968 that a Kentucky Derby winning horse has been disqualified from the race for a banned substance, with Dancer’s Image being the last.

On Friday, Medina Spirit passed three rounds of pre-race drug tests and was cleared to race in this weekend’s Preakness. 

According to ESPN, Baffert will not head to Preakness with Medina Spirit in order to “avoid being a distraction in the wake of scrutiny following the colt’s failed post-race drug test.” 

“I go to Baltimore to have a good time. It’s a fun trip,” Baffert said. “I don’t want to take away from the horses. I think it’d be a distraction if I went. I think it’d be a distraction if I win. The owners will be there. [Assistant trainer] Jimmy [Barnes] can handle it.”

If Medina Spirit is disqualified, Baffert will no longer hold the record for most Kentucky Derby wins by a trainer. He became the all-time leader in Derby victories last weekend with his seventh win as the trainer of the winning horse.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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