Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit dies
Medina Spirit collapses after morning workout
The drug-tainted Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit died suddenly after a workout in California on Monday.
The Paulick Report horse racing website quoted the California Horse Racing Board's equine medical director Jeff Blea confirming the death of the three-year-old, who is handled by the legendary American trainer Bob Baffert.
The report said Medina Spirit, who tested positive for a banned steroid following his victory in this year's Kentucky Derby, collapsed and died after a morning workout at Santa Anita Park.
"I spoke to the attending veterinarian, and, when they got to him on the track, he had already expired," said Blea.
He added that blood, hair and urine from the horse would be analysed as part of an investigation into the cause of death.
Medina Spirit's Kentucky Derby victory in May was called into question after the horse tested positive for traces of betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory steroid medication not allowed to be used within 14 days of competition.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is investigating the matter while Churchill Downs issued a two-year ban on Baffert, who has denied all wrongdoing. Medina Spirit was the fifth horse trained by Baffert to fail a drugs test in the past 12 months.
The trainer argued the betamethasone found in Medina Spirit's system was the result of a legal application of a topical ointment, rather than an injection.
Attorneys for Baffert last week said analysis of Medina Spirit's sample had confirmed the drug was applied to the horse in the ointment, meaning no offence under Kentucky racing rules had occurred. - AFP