Drug-tainted Kentucky Derby-winning horse Medina Spirit died suddenly after a workout in California on Monday, US media reports said.
The Paulick Report horse racing news website quoted the California Horse Racing Board’s equine medical director Jeff Blea confirming the death of the three-year-old, who is trained by legendary US trainer Bob Baffert.
The report said Medina Spirit, who tested positive for a banned steroid following victory in this year’s Kentucky Derby, collapsed and died after a morning workout at Santa Anita Park.
“I spoke to the attending veterinarian, and when they got to him on the track he had already expired,” Blea told the Paulick Report.
Blea said blood, hair and urine from the horse would be analysed as part of an investigation into the cause of death.
“We will take a close look at the heart to try and identify the cause of death,” Blea said.
Medina Spirit’s victory at the Kentucky Derby was called into question after the horse tested positive for traces of betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory steroid medication not allowed to be used within 14 days of competition.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is investigating the matter while Churchill Downs issued a two-year ban on trainer Baffert, who has denied all wrongdoing.