What Medina Spirit’s failed drug test means for Kentucky Derby bets

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The winner of the Kentucky Derby could ultimately be changed following an investigation into a positive post-race drug test, but that doesn’t mean it will have any impact on bettors for the first leg of the Triple Crown.

The race winner, Medina Spirit, tested positive for the steroid betamethasone, and Churchill Downs said in a statement on Sunday that if the positive test is upheld with another one, second-place finisher Mandaloun will be declared the winner. That still makes it unlikely that pari-mutuel betting will be affected.

In 1968, Derby winner Dancer’s Image was disqualified for a positive drug test and Forward Pass was ordered the winner. Pari-mutuel payoffs were not altered then, either. When Gamine was disqualified after finishing third in the 2020 Kentucky Oaks, pari-mutuel wagering was not impacted.

Noted horse racing author Bob Heleringer told The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kent., that once a race is over, the betting results are final, no matter what happens afterward. He described it as “one of the most irrevocable standards in racing,” and said it is a law in every state.

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