This year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, died on Monday morning in California, NBC News reported.
The horse, who flunked a drug test after its win, collapsed while in a workout at Santa Ana, Bob Baffert, the animal’s trainer, said.
The “entire barn” was saddened by the loss of the 3-year-old racehorse, Baffert said.
“Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we are deeply mourning his loss,” its trainer said in a statement. “I will always cherish the proud and personal memories of Medina Spirit and his tremendous spirit. Our most sincere condolences go out to Mr. Amr Zedan and the entire Zedan Racing Stables family.”
According to the Horse Racing Board in California, Medina Spirit was nearing the end of the training when he collapsed and died instantly.
“All horses that die within facilities regulated by the California Horse Racing Board undergo postmortem (necropsy) examination at a California Animal Health and Food Safety diagnostic laboratory under the auspices of the University of California, Davis,” according to the racing board.
The examination and toxicology results will confirm the official cause of the animal’s death.
Following the Kentucky Derby on May 1, Medina Spirit has tested positive for betamethasone. While the medication is considered legal, it is not allowed to be administered on race days.
But its trainer did not admit to the drug accusations. Baffert said the horse tested positive because a topical ointment put the drug on the horse’s system.
The drug test result affects Baffert and Medina Spirit’s legacies. A two-year suspension from the Churchill Downs Track was raised against Baffert in June.
Medina Spirit was not officially disqualified when he died as investigations continue. Baffert, meanwhile, filed a lawsuit to prove that the drug on the horse was from the ointment.