Bob Baffert’s Legacy Tainted by Stripped Derby Title

    • Trainer suspended for 90 days and fined $7,500 following positive drug test for Derby winner Medina Spirit.
    • Over 30 Baffert-trained horses have had medication violations during his 44-year career.

After last year’s Kentucky Derby win, Medina Spirit — who died in December following a heart attack — tested positive for a steroid legal in Kentucky but banned on the day of the race.

On Monday, Medina Spirit was stripped of the Derby title, and trainer Bob Baffert was suspended for 90 days and fined $7,500. Second-place finisher Mandaloun was awarded the victory and its owners will receive the $1.8 million winner’s purse.

It is the latest stain on the checkered legacy of Baffert, horse racing’s highest-profile trainer.  

  • His horses have won a record-tying six Kentucky Derbies (not including 2021), a record seven Preakness Stakes, and three Belmont Stakes.
  • He is the second trainer to ever win two Triple Crowns: American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).
  • But over 30 Baffert-trained horses have had medication violations, per the Louisville Courier-Journal, and Medina Spirit’s was the fifth in a 13-month span.

Baffert’s $330.4 million in career earnings is third all-time behind Todd Pletcher ($424.4M) and Steve Asmussen ($378.3M) in career earnings. 

Baffert, who indicated that he’ll appeal the decision, was suspended from Churchill Downs for two years after the post-race drug test was announced. He’ll miss the 2022 Derby scheduled for May 7.

He has, however, racked up 15 wins in 38 starts in 2022 for $1.8 million.