Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It's Mother's Day, so let's just talk about how the Kentucky Derby horse failed a drug test

Medina Spirit
Medina Spirit
Photo: Tim Nwachukwu (Getty Images)

Look, The A.V. Club is a pop culture news and reviews website and today is the second Mother’s Day of the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re spending the day with your family or whatever, you’re probably not reading this. If you’re not spending the day with your family for whatever reason, you probably don’t want to read anything about families. So, instead, let’s talk about how Medina Spirit, the horse that won the Kentucky Derby this year, failed a recent drug test. Apparently the horse had surprisingly high levels of THC in its system, and the horse-police are concerned that he may have intended to distribute drugs as well.

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That’s not true, but come on. It’s Mother’s Day, and we’re talking about a horse scandal. ESPN says that Medina Spirit tested positive for “an excessive amount of the steroid betamethasone” after the Kentucky Derby, with the drug apparently being used “to treat pain and inflammation in horses.” Exciting, right? The horse was all jacked-up on painkillers and then it won a big race! Scandal! The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is investigating all of this, and if it upholds the results of the drug test, Medina Spirit’s win could be revoked and second-place finisher (or “place,” for you gamblers) Mandaloun would be declared the winner. That would be huge for his friends Grogu and Bill Burr on the Disney+ show.

Medina Spirit’s trainer Bob Baffert (who is apparently in some kind of Hall Of Fame) was immediately suspended by Kentucky Derby venue Churchill Downs, and in a statement he referred to this as “the biggest gut-punch in racing for something that I didn’t do,” adding that it’s “an injustice to the horse” and that “there’s something not right” in horse racing right now. He also says Medina Spirit “ran a gallant race” and that his team will be conducting their own investigation. ESPN says this is the fifth time one of Baffert’s horses has failed a drug test in “just over a year,” but if the results are upheld in the horse’s win is revoked, it would only be second time in Kentucky Derby history. This is big stuff! Imagine something like this happening in one of human sports, and by “something like this” we’re referring to Baffert’s use of the word “gallant.” Nobody says Tom Brady played a “gallant” game, and they should... though maybe not specifically about Tom Brady. (Also: human athletes probably take too much of a painkiller all the time.)

But hey, horses! Get it? Anyway, happy Mother’s Day to people who care about that, but happy Regular Sunday to everyone else—especially The Mandaloun, who is probably going to be sitting by his horse-phone all afternoon.