Derby winner Medina Spirit won’t run in Pa. Derby

Sports

BENSALEM, Pa. — Medina Spirit, the Kentucky Derby winner who failed a postrace drug test, won’t run in Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby.

Embattled Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Tuesday he is going to keep the colt in California and run in the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes against older horses at Santa Anita on Oct. 2.

Medina Spirit was the 2-1 early favorite for the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing. He has won three of seven starts this year.

“I want to do what is best for the horse,” Baffert said. “I don’t like the way he drew.”

Medina Spirit was assigned post position nine in the Pennsylvania Derby.

The colt was set to face nine others, including Belmont Stakes runner-up Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon, who was second in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

“I have a lot of respect for the other two horses,” Baffert said. “I was really looking forward to it. It’s a great race with him in there, but it’s something I have to do. I feel that part of my success is knowing when to run. This is a management call of mine.”

Baffert has won the Pennsylvania Derby three times, most recently with McKinzie in 2018.

Baffert said Private Mission, the 9-2 early favorite for Saturday’s $1 million Cotillion at Parx Racing, will also stay home. She will be pointed to the $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes on Oct. 3, also at Santa Anita.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has yet to render a final verdict as part of its investigation into Medina Spirit testing positive for the steroid betamethasone. Churchill Downs suspended Baffert for two years.

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