All eyes on Medina Spirit

Medina Spirit

Home » Equine
Posted May 14, 2021 | By Carlos Medina,

Medina Spirit exercises at Churchill Downs on April 28 ahead of the Kentucky Derby. Despite failing a drug test after the Derby, the colt is set to run in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. [Coady Photography]

While at least six of the 10 horses in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes boast ties to the Marion County area, all eyes are on locally-bred Medina Spirit as he makes his first start since failing a drug test after the Kentucky Derby.

The specter of a disqualification in the Derby hangs over the colt even as he tries for the second jewel of the Triple Crown at Balitimore’s Pimlico Race Course.

While Pimlico officials gave the horse the green light to run in the Preakness, it is contingent on several factors, including additional testing and monitoring of the horse.

The colt’s breeder, Gail Rice, earlier this week said she was staying positive and praying. Medina Spirit was born on her son’s farm in Sparr in 2018 and sold for just $1,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales in 2019. The colt later sold for $35,000 also at OBS to his current owner Zedan Racing Stables.

Despite losing money on Medina Spirit, Rice was thrilled with the horses victory. She had hoped to race him herself, but had to sell the colt after she separated from her now ex-husband. 

Despite the controversy surrounding the colt, the colt is still the favorite to win the race. Rice hopes to attend the race and is expecting a quality start.

“The horse can win the Preakness,” she said. “He can win at (Belmont) too.”

Belmont Park is the site of the third jewel of the Triple Crown. The Belmont Stakes is set for June 20.

While Bob Baffert, the colt’s trainer, initially denied ever treating the colt with betamethasone, a topical steroid used to reduce inflammation. The colt had more than the allowable level of the steroid in his system, according to a post-race test.

This week, Baffert said an ointment used to treat dermatitis in Medina Spirit may have contained betamethasone.  The trainer was already suspended by Churchill Downs, pending the results of a second sample.

Medina Spirit drew the No. 3 post position and is listed at opening odds of 9-5. 

In the No. 1 spot, is 30-1 longshot Ram, who was broken and trained locally by Randy Bradshaw. Next to him, at 15-1, is Keepmeinmind, a graduate of Paul Sharp Training. Crowded Trade is the 10-1 pick and starts from the No. 4 post position. He was broken and trained by Nick de Meric. Unbridled Honor opens at 15-1 and breaks from the No. 8 spot. He is owned by Marion County’s Whisper Hill Farm. Risk Taking is an Eisaman Equine graduate and starts from the No. 9 post at odds of 15-1.

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