What happens to bets placed on Medina Spirit? Here's what has been done when horses tested positive for drugs
After Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby win, people who had placed bets on the horse have already cashed in on their victory. However, now it has come to light that Medina Spirit tested positive for the drug betamethasone. At this time, there is shock surrounding the news and even Donald Trump released a press statement about the state of affairs this year in the derby.
The big concern is now about how the victory will be perceived. If Medina Spirit trained by Bob Baffert was to be disqualified, which can only happen after a positive test, would that mean that the win is no more considered to be valid?
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What will happen to the bets placed?
The positive test for betamethasone has put Bob Baffert's record-breaking seventh victory at peril after the trainer announced that Medina Spirit tested positive for the anti-inflammatory drug. Medina Spirit was tested on May 1 following the victory in the derby held at Churchill Downs. This test revealed 21 picograms of betamethasone.
At the moment, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations require a second positive test, also known as the split test before it can disqualify a horse. Baffert informed on Sunday, May 9 that he was unsure of when the result of the second test would be available. Marc Guilfoil, executive director of the KHRC said that the positive test result from the first test had come in on Friday, May 7, and added: "During the investigation, both the trainer and owner of the horse will be afforded due process and opportunity to appeal," and added, "Therefore, the KHRC will not provide further comment at this time."
So now, considering that Medina Spirit is yet to be disqualified, it brings us to the bets that were placed on the horse. If we go by similar cases that occurred in the past, it becomes clear that a positive test will not likely affect the pari-mutuel wagering. Take the case of Kentucky Derby winner Dancer’s Image, in 1968. The horse was disqualified for a positive drug test. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission ordered Forward Pass — the horse that crossed the finish line second in the race, be considered the winner of the 1968 Kentucky Derby — except for pari-mutuel payoffs.
Similarly, when Baffert's horse Gamine was disqualified from a third-place finish in Kentucky Oaks in February 2020, the pari-mutuel wagering was not affected by the ruling. Gamine had tested positive for betamethasone. The ruling on this case stated, "Baffert had waived his right to a formal hearing before the Board of Stewards and was fined $1,500." Gamine also lost the third-place that was won at the 2020 Derby, and in addition, the purse money of $120,000 was forfeited.
It should be noted that the use of betamethasone is permitted in Kentucky as a therapeutic. However, testing positive for the same on the day any race is a violation. Ironically, at the time when Gamine had been disqualified, Baffert said, "We can always do better and that is my goal,” and added, “Given what has transpired this year, I intend to do everything possible to ensure I receive no further medication complaints.”