Trainer Bob Buffert, who for six months discussed the legality of Medina Spirit’s victory in the Kentucky Derby, declared his innocence on Friday, saying there was clear evidence that the horses were not injected with betamethasone, but with medication. through the ointment.
Clark Brewster, attorney for Zedan Racing, owner of Medina Spirit, issued a press release that said: “The presence of betamethasone valerate in Medina Spirit, which resulted from topical administration, is not a violation of the rules.” This information comes after the results of testing a split urine sample by Dr. George Meilin, director of the New York Testing and Research Program.
Buffert argues that Kentucky’s regulations specifically address betamethasone acetate, which is injected, rather than betamethasone valerate.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission did not accuse Buffert of any wrongdoing after it informed him in May that Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, a legal drug that was banned on race day. Churchill Downs, citing five of Buffert’s drug abuse in a year – two of which were due to contamination, and this one for which he was not charged – removed the Hall of Fame coach from his tracks for two years. Buffert’s horses are currently not eligible to compete in the Kentucky Derby.
“These results conclusively confirmed that the betamethasone present in the Medina Spirit system was indeed derived from the Otomax topical ointment and not from an injection,” Brewster said.
“In other words, it has now been scientifically proven that what Bob Buffert said from the beginning was true – betamethasone was never administered to Medina Spirit, and the results after the Kentucky Derby were solely the result of treating the horse for a skin condition. topical ointment – all as directed by the Medina Spirit veterinarian. “
Betamethasone is a legal anti-inflammatory and is not considered a traditional performance enhancing drug, except for the fact that if the horse is feeling better, he can run better.
How this explanation will affect the KHRC and Churchill Downs is unclear. The KHRC did not comment on the situation because no charges were filed and there was no immediate reaction from Churchill Downs.
Buffert was supported by his fans and condemned by his critics, as he remained largely silent after going on a two-day media blitz to declare his innocence after he announced the positive.
“It’s really painful when you know what’s true,” Buffett told The Times in September in his first interview on the topic since May. “There are so many false stories out there, and the listening process is not even complete yet. The consolation is that the truth will be revealed as the process is completed. “
Churchill Downs’ decision to ban him for two years added to the creepiness of the usual Kentucky Derby road as his winning horses were denied Kentucky Derby qualifying points.
The Cornish, coached by Buffert, won the Youth Breeders’ Cup last month in Del Mar and is the favorite for most future Kentucky Derby betting pools. Cornish’s qualifying points were lost when he won the juvenile tournament. Churchill Downs did not include Buffert’s horses in the future betting list this past weekend.
“Since May, Mr. Bufft has been the victim of an unfair conviction,” the message said. “… Now it is scientifically proven that Mr. Bufft was truthful, did not break any racing rules, and the victory of Medina Spirit was due solely to the heart and abilities of the horse and nothing else, the time has come for all the participants in the races. to come together for the good of sport. “
The races didn’t always work together, and no doubt there will be dissenting opinions about the validity of Buffert’s claim. So this drama is probably far from over, but this event raises more questions.