The Kentucky Derby winner, American Thoroughbred racehorse Medina Sprit, died Monday at the Santa Anita racetrack in California, according to a statement made by the California Horse Racing Board.
Medina Sprit had collapsed upon reaching the finish line during a workout session and died nearly immediately said the CHRB.
“Following the completion of a routine morning workout, Medina Spirit collapsed on the track at Santa Anita Park and died suddenly of a probable cardiac event according to the on site veterinary team who attended to him,” said an official with the Santa Anita Park in a released statement.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has been the recent subject of controversy in the horseracing world, said the champion colt died from a “heart attack” following the workout. The Racing board will not determine an official cause of death until a necropsy and toxicology tests are complete.
“My entire barn is devastated by this news,” Baffert’s said in his statement.
“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.”
The horse was also subject of the same controversy as Baffert earlier this year which was considered one of the sport’s biggest controversies in history. Medina Sprit failed a post-race drug test after crossing placing first in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Baffert was subsequently banned from fielding any horses at the Churchill Downs racetrack for two years following the confirmation of the test for a legal drug whose presence is banned on race day.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission also paid tribute to the thoroughbred, “The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) is saddened to hear of the death of Medina Spirit. He was a valued member of the thoroughbred industry’s horse racing family.”
Medina Spirit did go on to race four more times in the Derby, finishing third at the Preakness Stakes, and winning two races in California. He had also placed in the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Classic last month.