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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Baffert Suspended From Churchill Downs, Medina Spirit Tests Positive for Steroids ...

 

(*PS/updates added following this story, to include a private question answered.)

Hehehe - told ya (see posts below)!  

Suspended from Churchill Downs - yes!   

FINALLY, My God, it was way past time.


Baffert's horse, 2021 Kentucky-Derby winner, Medina Spirit, tested positive in a post-race blood draw for betamethasone - a corticosteroid.  


Choose your source.  If you don't like the article from the NYT due to politics, perhaps this from the most reputable horse-news publication in the world, Bloodhorse, will.

I swear to God, if that man wriggles out of this again, like Teflon Don Trump ... 


Speaking of Trump, remember when Trump tweeted out disapproval of Maximum Security's disqualification?


Maximum Security's original trainer, Jason Servis, was indicted for horse-drugging, along with 27 other people, in a federal investigation (Trump's DOJ, not Biden's) - and guess who ended up becoming Maximum Security's new trainer as a result?

Conveniently, Mr. Horse-Drugger-in-Chief, himself -  Bob "Kickback" Baffert - the smeller who is actually the feller (always accusing his competition of his own crimes),  ;)


And for those unaware (I wasn't, until today), the Democrat-led U.S. Congress passed the Horse-Racing Integrity and Safety Act in 2020  - which is essentially an anti-doping law that puts a created horse-racing under the oversight of federal jurisdiction by the FTC.


The federal law does not officially take effect until July of 2022 - but the preparation for it is thus the reason why even Kickback Bob Baffert may no longer be inexplicably immune.


Also, don't forget, Baffert-trained, prize-winning Arrogate died at 7 years in 2020, after discovery of a host of health issues - and this happened AFTER Baffert was investigated after 7 horses died in his care in 2013, but and "no wrongdoing" was found.

Take heart, my friends - kickbacks and bribes only go on so long, truth and justice will prevail.

It literally may take years to happen, sometimes not even in our lifetime, but it eventually will - it's taken 40 years, for Bob Baffert, but it appears his dirty deeds and shoddy horse care may have finally caught up with him - fingers crossed this one sticks :)


__________________


PS - No decision made yet on disqualifying the actual horse,  Medina Spirit.

Baffert keeps repeating betamethasone is an "allowed drug" that was "not administered."

Okay - erm - No.

That is half-true, and even if fully true, why deny administering an allowed drug then, Baffert? 

Oh, because you neglected to mention the important part of the law  - from Bloodhorse ...

"Betamethasone is a Class C drug that is allowed in Kentucky as a therapeutic. However, state rules require at least a 14-day withdrawal time and any level of detection on race day is a violation. The threshold was changed to zero from 10 picograms per milliliter of blood or plasma in August."

True that it's allowed in Kentucky - but only up to 14 days before a race and any detection on race day is a violation - with the threshold detection being changed last August from 0 pg/mL  to 10 pg/mL - Medina Spirit was 21 pg/mL - double the threshold.


Tsk, tsk  - liar, liar, pants on fire - what are you, like some long-lost Trump brother?


Also, like I said in my earlier posts both pre and post Derby, part of the problem is there no standardized federal rule on what's allowed, each state's racing commission makes the rules, and there are no standardized consequences and no centralized lab, you can choose your own - but that is changing, once the industry moves to FTC oversight by July 2022.


The problem is, just like Trump, if Baffert goes down, he'll take a lot of decision-making people who've received kickbacks with him - so it's possible that just like Trump, he'll wriggle free again, so I don't expect much, but let's keep our fingers crossed - for the horses' sakes ...

Also, Conservative Americans - say what you will about "too much socialized government" in Britain and stagnation technologically, but they're way ahead of us when it comes to better consumer protection, but most importantly, laws protecting and caring for/being general stewards of the health and general well being of their own people, the environment, and the ethical treatment of animals (don't forget, the UK started the SPCA) -  particularly horses, due to the Queen's affinity for them.

Britain has been cracking down on horse-drugging with strict national law, for the past decade - which is why though other American trainers have been to the Ascot, you've never seen Baffert's dirty arse at the Ascot lol.

(He goes to Dubai, but never the UK ;)


And Conservative Britons complaining the same?

Now,  you know dang well the Queen herself would be the first one standing before Parliament for even stricter national UK law, if trainers tried to pull this crap at the Ascot, so hush up lol ...

... because some federal/national protective laws over state laws should be in place, for good reason.

______________________


PPS - Someone just asked us "Why is lidocaine illegal at all, but betamethasone is legal up to a certain amount?"

Great question!  

And the answer is, we don't know, it makes no sense to us either lol.

Because in humans, betamethasone is illegal in the NFL,  NBA,  MBL, NHL, and college sports in any amount - but lidocaine patches are not - in fact, they are regularly used.   


That is because:


Betamethasone - is a prescription-only anti-inflammatory and performance-enhancing STEROID - meaning not only does it reduce pain and inflammation, but it increases heart rate, blood flow, and lung capacity - not to mention, long-term steroid use causes an exorbitant amount of health problems.  It is administered via injection.

Lidocaine - is an over-the-counter, topical local anesthetic - NOT a steroid.   It is usually administered via a patch directly to the sore area.  Unlike a steroid, it causes no changes to the central nervous system, blood flow, lungs, or other body systems that could enhance performance.


Just to reiterate what I said previously, the reason both are illegal in horse-racing (to varying degrees, according to state) is because they can mask serious injury, which is therefore dangerous to both the horse and jockey.

However, unlike human athletes, horses do not get a choice whether or not to participate or not despite injury - trainers will dope them up and make them run anyway, and jockeys aren't always made aware of the additional risk they're taking on, to both the horse and themselves  :/


Now, having said that, IMO, out of the two, if you're going to make one legal in any amount, it should be lidocaine, not betamethasone - provided the trainer specifies the severity of the injury before the race and 3 racetrack veterinarians approve it and sign off on it.


Example #1:  Let's say the horse just knocked his knee on the stall door on the way out and has a minor bruise.  Three separate track vets determine that's the extent of the injury - minor bruise to the knee.  

That's not enough to cause further injury or a reason to scratch from the race - why not apply a localized numbing patch with a non-steroidal agent, with no steroid or performance-enhancing effects,  to the affected area?

Example #2:  The horse has a severe limp after his morning exercise ride.  Three separate vets determine he's pulled a tendon, ruptured his tendon, or suffered a stress fracture.

Erm -  HELL no - lidocaine will numb it out, yes, but you risk injury to both horse and rider - so just scratch the horse!

(Unless there's some other side effect of lidocaine in horses versus humans that I don't know about, frankly, I don't get it either lol.) 

Otherwise, see my prior post on the multitude of problems with having state vs. federal racing-commission rules HERE.

Lastly, what I would say to Baffert, if I could ...   

 

Baffert,  

 

This confirms exactly what I expected, that day you were so paranoid and rude to myself and the mother of one of the children in the group of critically, chronically, and/or terminally-ill children that we brought (through the schools) to the 2015 Breeder's Cup, for whom we arranged stable passes.  
(By the way, that particular mother had literally just brought her 4-year-old daughter from a round of chemotherapy, her daughter was so excited/determined to come see the horses.)  

 

You literally shouted "NO!!!!" in a  sort of tantrum, when we politely asked if the children could just take a quick peek at American Pharoah, from 20 yards away, at the main barn door, with the children just 10 feet away from us.  They clearly heard you.  One of them started crying.  Jill's eyes widened and she looked at us sympathetically for a second, then looked down.  (Well, at least your wife is human lol.)

 

Who acts like that in front of verified critically-ill children? 
I don't know, but it takes a special kind of A-hole.  

 

Now - I have always believed the reason you were so paranoid and rude is because you are the sort of person that assumes everyone has the same motivations that you do - like a thief that presumes everyone else steals from them - even verified critically-ill children?!?  
Methinks with recent news, I hit the nail on the head ;) 

 

Regardless, you should know that NONE of the other trainers we met that day were like that.  In fact,  they were more than happy to oblige verified critically-ill children, even letting them pet and give approved-snacks to prize horses.
Doug O'Neill was even kind enough to let them sit on Lava Man and even pet and give carrots to Nyquist - and Nyquist was running in the Juvenile Cup to qualify for the Derby - 6 months BEFORE he won the Derby - which is why he's our favorite trainer :) 

So congratulations - you were the only paranoid, rude, trainer there, and likely the biggest A-hole I have ever personally met in my life!

 

Now - though sabotage does happen frequently in horse-racing - even more than once to the same person - sabotage usually happens to the losers, not the winners?!? LOL

 

So sell it somewhere else, A-hole - namely to Trumpers - because they're the only ones who repeatedly buy the "Boy-Wolf who cried Wolf Routine" without question, instead of realizing such personalities project their own crimes onto others as deflection off their own guilt.  

 

Because if you were telling the truth about repeat sabotage, not only would you have lost more times than you won, but you would've taken more precautions - i.e. security cameras and regular testing your own horses yourself to ensure no one is doing it without your knowledge?!?  
But you don't - which is an extremely odd thing not to do, for a person who has cried wolf as many times as you have!

 

Perhaps the real reason you don't is because you're guilty and you just thought you were above reproach? ;)  
At some point, people start to realize the real wolf is the one who crying wolf repeatedly, without providing any proof or taking any extra documentation or back-up steps to prepare for and prove your innocence, should the question arise.  It catches up with you - as it will Trump someday ;)  
May I just say on behalf of myself, my husband, and the group of chronically, critically, and terminally-ill children we brought to the Breeder's Cup that day - it's about damn time!


And by the way - if you truly didn't know your horse was drugged (because you can't watch them every second), but you can't prove it, then the best thing to do is say:  

"I can't admit to something I didn't do, and I will swear under oath that I had no knowledge of this drug being administered - but I will take the suspension and fine, because it happened on my watch and was therefore still my responsibility."

That is NOT an admission of guilt - that is the military way - take responsibility for deeds done under your command, even if you didn't know about them. 

How hard is that?!?

Other big-name trainers can and have? 

No one ever admits it, of course, but all of the other big trainers have been suspended and paid the fines - including Todd Pletcher, Doug O'Neill, Chad Brown, Shug McGaughey, D. Wayne Lukas, Steve Asmussen, just to name a few - all have been cited for drug violations - guilty or not, or whether they were aware their horse was drugged or not (by the owners, etc.)

Some have appealed, but it's rarely overturned, because you can't prove you didn't do it or were unaware of it - except Bob Baffert - who has never proven his innocence, by the way, they just accept his lame excuses without question.

He's never proven his innocence, and yet skates clean every time, despite actually being the dirtiest (and biggest accuser) ;) 

___________________

Update:  5/12/2020

 Baffert ran to Fox News (of course he did) saying it's Otomax ointment and what's happening to him is part of "cancel culture."  

Then his brother from another mother, Trump, blogged his support, mocking it as fake news calling the horse a "junky."

Yeah, see ... the problem with that, Trump, is that no one is saying anything about the horse, nor is anyone claiming addiction.

As usual, you clearly have no clue about what's even going on or what you're talking about, you just support anyone who glorifies you.


First of all, dudes - erm - Otomax is  a combination of an antibiotic,  an anti-fungal (clotrimazole), and betamethazone - not pure betamethasone.

It comes in small 7.5-g  and 15-g tubes and  used in very small amounts, usually to treat ear infections (though Baffert is claiming it was used on hindquarters to treat dermatitis); and I'm not sure, but I doubt there's even 21 pg/mL of betamethasone in an entire tube of the combination ointment! lol

Secondly, it works via systemic absorption through the skin, affecting mostly the localized area; therefore, it is highly unlikely to create a positive test of 21 pg/mL of betamethasone.  

Thirdly, if you want to call cleaning up corruption and cheating in sports and better horse-and-jockey health protection and safety "cancel culture," then sign me up! lol


Otherwise, as y'all know, I have a very strong bullshit detector -  and I call bullshit, Baffert.  

"Bullshit Baffert" as a new moniker - I like it! 




______________________

Update 5/13/2021

Medina Spirit will run on the Preakness at Pimlico Park in Maryland, on Saturday, but sans Bob Baffert (Baffert's choice not to attend), provided he passes pre-race drug tests.

Additionally, Bloodhorse posted a story that though Bob Baffert claimed to have hired Dr. Michael Hore, of Hagyard Equine here in Lexington, to oversee horse care and ensure safety and lack of "doping,"  that relationship never materialized.  

Dr.  Hore says that he is not a licensed veterinarian in California, and though a few emails were passed, perhaps it was the COVID-19 travel restrictions that prevented him from having an active role in helping Baffert to ensure security.

Mm hmm.  


Now, like I said, if you were Baffert, and your horses were testing positive right and left, you'd step up your care and test your own horses on the regular, now wouldn't you?  

Not that we'd believe him, if he said any of the results if they conflicted.

HOWEVER, the value that lies in regular testing by the trainer is that if a trainer truly believes someone is repeatedly drugging their horses without their knowledge, they'd find out that that way - but despite repeat allegations - he doesn't. 







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