Someplace in California, Bob Baffert is breathing a sigh of relief. Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit and his stablemate Concert Tour have been cleared to run in the Preakness Stakes.
There were doubts about the colts participating in Saturday’s race. When the commission first exposed that the Derby winner evaluated favorable for the anti-inflammatory steroid betamethasone, it cast a shadow over Baffert. It led to the legendary instructor being suspended from Churchill Downs.
On Friday, Maryland racing authorities revealed that Medina Spirit passed his 2nd wave of drug screening. The tests became part of a contract that the company reached to enable Baffert’s horses to participate in the Preakness. Long as they passed the tests, the horses might race.
“While we acknowledge the difficult scenarios that prompted this additional need for transparency, it shows, above all else, that the principles of stability, responsibility, and safety in our sport are non-negotiable,” said Craig Fravel, CEO of 1/ST Racing, which belongs of the group that owns Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, website of the Preakness, per ESPN.
With that now in the rearview mirror, it’s game on for Baffert’s horses. His filly Beautiful Gift finished seventh in the Black-Eyed Susan on Friday.
Medina Spirit will start from the No. 3 post position Saturday, while Concert Tour will begin with the No. 10 posts in the 10-horse field. Since this writing, they are the two favorites in the race, with Medina Spirit (9-5) holding a slight edge on Show Tour (5-2).