BOB BAFFERT has acknowledged that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit WAS treated with an ointment that contained a banned drug.
The Hall of Fame trainer, 68, has been on the defensive since revealing his horse's positive drugs test.
Baffert, who has denied any wrongdoing, initially said the horse was a victim of 'cancel culture' then suggested he could have eaten urine-tainted hay.
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But a press release issued on Tuesday indicated Baffert, who still intends to run the horse in Saturday's Preakness, might now have some idea where the failed test came from.
Baffert's statement read: "Following the Santa Anita Derby, Medina Spirit developed dermatitis on his hind end.
"I had him checked out by my veterinarian who recommended the use of an anti-fungal ointment called Otomax.
"The veterinary recommendation was to apply this ointment daily to give the horse relief, help heal the dermatitis and prevent it from spreading.
"My barn followed this recommendation and Medina Spirit was treated with Otomax once a day up until the day before the Kentucky Derby.
"Yesterday, I was informed that one of the substances in Otomax is betamethasone.
"While we do not know definitively that this was the source of the alleged 21 picograms found in Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample, and our investigation is continuing, I have been told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results.
"As such, I wanted to be forthright about this fact as soon as I learned of this information.
"As I have stated, my investigation is continuing and we do not know for sure if this ointment was the cause of the test results, or if the test results are even accurate, as they have yet to be confirmed by the split sample.
"However, again, I have been told that a finding of a small amount, such as 21 picograms, could be consistent with application of this type of ointment.
"I intend to continue to investigate and I will continue to be transparent."
Medina Spirit's positive has rocked US racing, with Donald Trump even wading in to brand the horse a 'junky'.
But Baffert, who could be made to repay the £1.3million Kentucky Derby prize money if a second test confirms the first, is intent on his operation running as normal.
His lawyer is prepared to file for a temporary restraining order should Medina Spirit be barred from racing on the weekend.
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