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No, bets on Medina Spirit do not change even when Kentucky Derby winner is disqualified

Although Medina Spirit lost the title of Kentucky Derby winner, those who bet on the horse will keep their winnings.
Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
John Velazquez rides Medina Spirit across the finish line to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

UPDATE (2/21/22): The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) Board of Stewards disqualified Medina Spirit from the 2021 Kentucky Derby in a Feb. 21, 2022 ruling. As a result, the victory now goes to Mandaloun. Medina Spirit died two months prior to the ruling in December 2021. The original story as published continues below.

It’s been more than a week since the Kentucky Derby, and it is still unclear which horse will ultimately be declared the winner of the famed race. That’s because the horse that finished in first place, Medina Spirit, failed a post-race drug test and may end up being disqualified, pending the results of a second test.

As news broke of the possible disqualification, people had questions, especially those who put money on the race. They wondered how bets could be affected if Medina Spirit is disqualified and the horse who finished second, Mandaloun, is ultimately declared the winner.


Will anything happen to bets placed on Medina Spirit if the horse is disqualified?



This is false.

No, nothing would change for bettors. People who bet on Medina Spirit to win the Kentucky Derby will get to keep their winnings, even if the horse ends up being disqualified.


On May 1, Medina Spirit won the 147th Kentucky Derby and Mandaloun finished in second place.

Eight days later, on May 9, Medina Spirit’s trainer, Bob Baffert, announced his horse had tested positive for betamethasone in a post-race drug test. Betamethasone is a steroid used to limit inflammation in joints, according to Kentucky Equine Research.  

Churchill Downs, which hosts the Kentucky Derby, also released a statement May 9, saying, “It is our understanding that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample indicated a violation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s equine medication protocols.”

The statement went on to say, “The connections of Medina Spirit have the right to request a test of a split sample and we understand they intend to do so.”

It’s unclear when the second test will be completed.

If the results of the second test confirm the results of the first test, Churchill Downs says Medina Spirit would be disqualified and Mandaloun, the horse who finished in second place, would be declared the winner.  

However, if that happens, nothing will change for people who bet on Medina Spirit or Mandaloun. According to Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations, “Payment of valid pari-mutuel tickets shall be made on the basis of the order of finish as declared ‘official’ by the stewards. A subsequent change in the order of finish or award of purse money that may result from a subsequent ruling by the stewards or commission shall not affect the pari-mutuel payout.”

TwinSpires, an online wagering platform owned and operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated, said regardless of whether Medina Spirit remains the winner or is disqualified, payouts will not change.

“In the event there is a change in the results, based on Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations, the pari-mutuel payouts will not be changed,” a representative from TwinSpires said.

Only one other Kentucky Derby winner has been disqualified for a post-race drug violation. That was Dancer’s Image in 1968.

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