Horse racing-Medina Spirit's failed drug test caused by ointment - owner's attorney

FILE PHOTO: Nov 2, 2021; Del Mar, CA, USA; Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, during workouts at Del Mar Race Track. / Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

(Reuters) - A split sample test for Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit confirmed that the presence of a prohibited substance was from a topical ointment and not an injection, an attorney for the horse's owner said.

Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, a banned substance, in May and was banned from running in the Belmont Stakes, the third and final leg of the triple crown.

Clark Brewster, an attorney for Zedan Racing, said the testing of the sample was completed by the New York Racing Laboratory and "scientifically confirmed" Medina Spirit was not injected with betamethasone.

"The Kentucky Racing Commission has steadfastly enacted rules relating to corticosteroid joint injection and have drawn a bright line rule that no injections are permitted within 14 days of a race," said the statement, which the stables posted on Twitter.

"Now there is zero doubt that the 14-day rule some thought might have been violated by the earlier, less specific testing is revealed as premature judgment. That groundless accusation is without scientific merit."

The Kentucky commission and the New York lab were not immediately available for comment outside business hours.

Medina Spirit trainer Bob Baffert, a seven-times Kentucky Derby winner, was banned by Churchill Downs for two years following the failed drug test.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)

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