(Medina Spirit and Bob Baffert the day after the 2021 Kentucky Derby / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

“The Pressbox” has received a copy of the following email, that was forwarded to media personalities and outlets throughout the Thoroughbred industry and Kentucky today. By the looks of the names on the email — sent by attorney Craig Robertson III and regarding the issues surrounding Medina Spirit and his trainer Bob Baffert following this year’s Kentucky Derby — the author targeted those that work in the Thoroughbred industry and work at multiple and various media outlets.

Some of the names included on the email are Matt Hegarty, with the “Daily Racing Form;” Lenny Shulman, with the “Blood-Horse;” Ray Paulick, with the “Paulick Report;” Sue Finley, with the “Thoroughbred Daily News;” Tim Sullivan, with the “Louisville Courier-Journal;” John Clay, with the “Lexington Herald-Leader;” and others.

“The Pressbox,” which has opined on this matter regularly and was not included in the email blast, has reached out to persons connected at both the Kentucky Racing Commission and at Churchill Downs seeking a response to the following.

Just a few minutes ago, I received a test message from Marc Guilfoil, the Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. It wrote:

“Can’t comment on on-going litigation.”

We have not received any comment from Churchill Downs, at this juncture.

Please stay tuned. This is, obviously, a developing story.

Here is a copy of that email, as written by Craig Robertson III — the attorney representing the embattled Bob Baffert, whose 3YO colt Medina Spirit tested positive for a drug overage following this year’s running of the Kentucky Derby:

“Please see the following statement issued by me pertaining to the MEDINA SPIRIT case:

“The testing of the split urine sample of MEDINA SPIRIT has now been completed by Dr. George Maylin, Director of the New York Drug Testing & Research Program.  By Order of the Franklin Circuit Court in Kentucky, this urine was tested “to determine if the alleged topical administration of OTOMAX could have resulted in the finding of betamethasone” in MEDINA SPIRIT following the 2021 Kentucky Derby.  Those results have now definitively confirmed that the betamethasone present in MEDINA SPIRIT’s system did indeed come from the topical ointment OTOMAX and not an injection.  In other words, it has now been scientifically proven that what Bob Baffert said from the beginning was true – MEDINA SPIRIT was never injected with betamethasone and the findings following the Kentucky Derby were solely the result of the horse being treated for a skin condition by way of a topical ointment – all at the direction of MEDINA SPIRIT’s veterinarian.  

“The betamethasone in an injection is betamethasone acetate.  The betamethasone in the topical ointment is betamethasone valerate.  Only betamethasone acetate is addressed and regulated in the rules of racing in Kentucky.  Thus, the presence of betamethasone valerate in MEDINA SPIRIT, which resulted from a topical ointment, is not a rules violation.  Dr. Maylin’s testing not only confirmed the presence of betamethasone valerate, but also the absence of betamethasone acetate.  This should definitively resolve the matter in Kentucky and MEDINA SPIRIT should remain the official winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby.      

“Since May, Mr. Baffert has been the subject of an unfair rush to judgment.  We asked all along that everyone wait until the facts and science came to light.  Now that it has been scientifically proven that Mr. Baffert was truthful, did not break any rules of racing, and MEDINA SPIRIT’s victory was due solely to the heart and ability of the horse and nothing else, it is time for all members of racing to come together for the good of the sport.  Mr. Baffert has been a tremendous ambassador for the sport throughout his 46 year Hall of Fame career and he has every intention of continuing to do so.

Craig Robertson III

Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP
250 West Main Street, Suite 1600
Lexington KY 40507-1746
Direct: (859) 288-7667
Mobile: (859) 533-0638
Email: [email protected]