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Saudi-owned Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit dies of heart attack

Published: Updated:

The Kentucky Derby-winning horse Medina Spirit, owned by Saudi businessman Amr Zedan, died of a heart attack on Monday after a workout, a lawyer for the horse’s trainer said.

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Medina Spirit clinched a surprise win at the Kentucky Derby in May, bringing trainer Bob Baffert a record seventh win in the prestigious race.

“It is with great sadness that I am reporting Medina Spirit passed away today from a heart attack at Santa Anita following a workout,” Baffert said in a statement provided to Reuters.

“My entire barn is devastated by this news. Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we are deeply mourning his loss.

“I will always cherish the proud and personal memories of Medina Spirit and his tremendous spirit.”

“All I can say is that he gave us the ride of our lives and brought everyone together,” Zedan said in a report on Thoroughbred Daily News.

“We are mourning this loss, Bob (Baffert), myself, our team and Johnny (Velazquez), as well. We are all very sad.”

John Velazquez guides Medina Spirit to the front of the pack during 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. (Reuters)
John Velazquez guides Medina Spirit to the front of the pack during 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. (Reuters)

An underdog by a huge margin at the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit beat competitors including Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s Essential Quality, which was a 5-2 favorite to win.

Medina Spirit, on the other hand, faced odds of 12-1.

The colt was purchased by Zedan for a bargain price of $35,000. In comparison, he recently paid $1.7 million for an unraced two-year-old.

Controversy surrounded trainer Baffert after some of the horses in his stables tested positive for banned substances.

Medina Spirit tested positive over the legal limit after the derby for betamethasone, a drug used to reduce joint inflammation.

Kentucky state law allows horses to be treated with betamethasone up to 14 days before a race.

With agencies

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