The promising racing career of 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit ended abruptly today as the champion horse lost its life.
Per Eric Sondheimer of the LA Times, Medina Spirit died this morning while working out at the Santa Anita track. The horse’s death is suspected of being very sudden. The emergency van was called immediately after the horse collapsed, but couldn’t save it.
Medina Spirit was just one month removed from a second-place finish at the Breeder’s Cup Classic. He finished just three lengths behind race winner Knicks Go.
The final racing record for Medina Spirit was 5-4-1 in 10 races, never finishing outside the money. But the horse’s performance at the 147th Kentucky Derby created a scandal that has rocked the racing world.
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit died this morning at Santa Anita on the track. Could be sudden death. Siren went off as horses were working out. Horse emergency van went out right past the finish line. Very sad.
— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) December 6, 2021
Medina Spirit’s win the Kentucky Derby was called into question after the horse tested positive for steroids after the race. Trainer Bob Baffert denied having the horse doped, but the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission suspended him from racing any horses in their state as an investigation commenced.
Medina Spirit was allowed to compete in the Preakness – the second leg of the Triple Crown – a few weeks later, where he came in second. But days later, the New York Racing Authority barred Medina Spirit from competing in the Belmont Stakes.
3.5 months later, Medina Spirit returned to racing, winning the Shared Belief Stakes and the Awesome Again Stakes to qualify for the Breeder’s Cup Classic.
But horse racing is a brutal sport, and horse deaths are often as sudden as they are devastating.