Medina Spirit gets tougher tests as condition of Preakness entry

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Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, at left, is walked over the track at Pimlico on Tuesday ahead of Saturday's 146th Preakness Stakes

Doping-hit Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was allowed into the 146th Preakness on Tuesday but only after trainer Bob Baffert agreed to more rigorous drug-testing and results being made public.

Medina Spirit returned a positive race-day doping test for a banned steroid at the Derby and should a second test from the sample also be positive, the colt would be disqualified and runner-up Mandaloun awarded the victory.

Baffert brought the horse to Pimlico in Baltimore for the second jewel in US flat racing's Triple Crown but was not assured an entry until he struck a deal with the Maryland Jockey Club and track owner 1/st Racing.

Baffert agreed to testing and monitoring beyond that conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission "to ensure the fairness and integrity of the races entered by horses trained by Baffert," a Preakness statement said.

Nagged by doping issues with champion horses in his Hall of Fame career, Baffert said Tuesday in a statement released by his attorney that an anti-fungal ointment used on the horse contained betamethasone, which is banned within two weeks of a race.

Baffert said he didn't know the medication contained the substance when it was used on Medina Spirit daily until the eve of the Derby.

Preakness entrants Medina Spirit and Concert Tour will have all test results and relevant medical records made public.

If a Baffert horse tests positive or has a higher than allowable level of an allowed theraputic substance, Baffert will withdraw the horse in question.

"We are well aware of the public outcry and calls for action that have been the natural outcome of a medication positive in one of the most iconic races in our sport and we share the disappointment and concern," 1/st Racing chief executive officer Craig Fravel said.

"We are required to acknowledge in this instance that fundamental fairness compels us to respect the individual rights of participants in our sport to due process and adherence to agreed-upon and well-established rules.

"To this point, there has to our knowledge been no split sample testing as is required in every state in this country and no complaint or other official action has been announced by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission with regard to this incident.

"While the integrity of our sport is of utmost importance it is the responsibility of those in authority to follow the rules even as we seek to enforce them. We cannot make things up as we go along and we trust that the competitors, bettors and fans will understand the importance of adhering to that principle."

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