Bob Baffert Sorry Not Good Enough Says Dempsey

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:

Following Saturday's Preakness Stakes race, disgraced trainer Bob Baffert issued an apology after his horse, Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, tested positive for 21 picograms of betamethason.


Adamant the horse never had been treated with the corticosteroid, Baffert recanted two days later when saying Medina Spirit had been treated several days with Otomax.

The ointment, which lists betamethasone as an ingredient, was used to treat dermatitis on Medina Spirit’s hind end, Baffert said.

Medina Spirit finished third in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, entering as a co-favorite with the runner up Midnight Bourbon.

"Sorry, Bob, it's not ok," horse racing analyst Michael Dempsey tweeted out.

Dempsey pointed to an article by Bill Finley.

So let's give him the benefit of doubt and assume that Medina Spirit was treated with an ointment that contained betamethasone to help clear up a case of dermatitis. Let's assume that's the root cause of the positive. That doesn't mean it's OK. Not even close.

For his veterinarian to have prescribed the ointment, Otomax, and for Baffert to have signed off on the treatment, would mean they are guilty of an alarming and unacceptable degree of sloppiness. How could they have not known that Otomax contains betamethasone? It says so right on the box. Did they not know that betamethasone cannot be in a horse's system in Kentucky on race day? Everyone else did. Baffert may not be stupid, but it sure looks like he is reckless.

Had this been any other trainer in any other race, the story wouldn't have gone very far. But it wasn't. It was the Kentucky Derby and the trainer is, easily, the most recognizable figure in the sport. That's why this made national headlines, drew the attention of the late night talk show hosts and had all of our non-racing friends peppering us with questions. Even Saturday Night Live got its pound of flesh, lampooning Baffert during the Weekend Update segment. Donald Trump called Medina Spirit a junky. Ouch.


Decision on Trainer Rice's License Could be Made May 17

The New York State Gaming Commission is expected to arrive at a decision whether trainer Linda Rice's license should be suspended or possibly revoked for alleged "actions inconsistent with and detrimental to" the best interest of racing.

Rice is alleged to have obtained names of horses entered in New York Racing Association races prior to entries being closed.

Rice, who has been a trainer for 35 years, denies any wrongdoing.

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- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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