Medina Spirit, horse at heart of Kentucky Derby controversy, dies while training

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Medina Spirit, who was at the center of a doping controversy at this year’s Kentucky Derby, died during a workout.

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Colt suffered a heart attack on Monday during a workout at the Santa Anita Track in California.

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“Near the end of her wind this morning, she didn’t feel right and her rider tried to pull her up,” said Jeff Blia, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board, told the New York Times, “He went down. Our vet immediately arrived at the scene and he was dead.”

I spent half my life in horse racing. Medina Spirit Scandal Explains Why I Left

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The medina spirit was a central character in one of US racing’s biggest controversies in decades. He crossed the line first in the May race, but failed a post-race drugs test. Following the controversy his trainer, Bob Baffert, was banned from entering the Kentucky Derby horses for two years. He denied intentionally doping the horse, who was a 12-1 outsider to win the race, and blamed the failed test on the Medina Spirit on an ointment used to treat the rash.

Medina Spirit enjoyed recent success, finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. Baffert has yet to comment on the death. Horse’s owner Amar Zedan’s lawyer told the New York Times that his client and Baffert were “grievously broken” at the death.

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