Medina Spirit will run in Preakness

Seems like Medina Spirit has overtaken Cancel Culture after all.

Two days after revealing that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a regulated substanceand a day after trainer Bob Baffert claimed the horse was Victims of the “Cancel Culture” and hours after Baffert admitted that the horse was indeed treated with the drug … Medina Spirit becomes run in the Preakness this weekend after all.

“I am pleased to announce that we have entered into an agreement allowing Medina Spirit and Concert Tour to run in the Preakness Stakes,” Baffert attorney W. Craig Robertson III announced Tuesday. Concert Tour, another horse trained by Baffert, did not run in the Kentucky Derby.

Medina Spirit’s victory in the Kentucky Derby is still very much in doubt as Baffert admitted Tuesday morning that the horse was treated with an ointment containing betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug. Betamethasone is not illegal, but horses must not be treated with it within 14 days of a race.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Baffert acknowledged that an ointment applied to the horse leading up to race day contained betamethasone. But Baffert claimed not to know the origin of the drug, and also accused the drug would have had no effect even if it had been in the stated amount.

“First, I had no idea (until now) how betamethasone could possibly have found its way into Medina Spirit, and it was never about tricking the system or gaining an unfair advantage,” Baffert said in his Tuesday statement. “Second, horse racing has to deal with its regulatory problem when it comes to substances that can harmlessly enter a horse’s system at picogram levels (that’s one trillionth of a gram). Medina Spirit deserved his Kentucky Derby win and my pharmacologists told me that 21 picograms of betamethasone would not have affected the outcome of the race.”

Shortly after the first positive test was announced, 1/ST Racing and the Maryland Jockey Club, who administer the preakness, issued a statement saying they were postponing a decision on the horse’s suitability for racing.

“1/ST RACING and MJC intend to positively verify the relevant facts and information regarding the reported medications as a result of the post-race blood sample tests,” the statement said in part. “We are consulting with the Maryland Racing Commission and any decision regarding Medina Spirit’s participation in the 146th Preakness Stakes will be made upon factual review.”

Baffert’s attorney framed the events of the weekend when Baffert allowed the horses to be tested at Pimlico ahead of the races. “In the best interest of horse racing and the integrity of the sport, Mr. Baffert consents to blood testing, monitoring and medical record reviews by the Maryland Jockey Club on the horse Medina Spirit and two other horses trained by Mr. Baffert. ‘ Robertson wrote to Alan M. Rifkin, attorney for the Maryland Jockey Club.

“Medina Spirit and Concert Tour are currently enlisted in the Preakness Stakes and Beautiful Gift is currently enlisted in the Black Eyed Susan Stakes,” Robertson wrote of approved therapeutic substance exceeding the established limit, or if reasonable circumstances allow, according to MJC’s review of the medical or administrative records warrant, Mr. Baffert, or MJC on his behalf, will scrape the horse from the forthcoming race for which that horse is entered this weekend in Pimlico.”

The Preakness Stakes takes place this Saturday at 6:50 am Eastern.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - MAY 11: Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (L) is walked across the course during a practice session for the upcoming Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – MAY 11: Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (L) is walked across the course during a practice session for the upcoming Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram at @jaybusbee or contact him at [email protected]

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