LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Medina Spirit’s victory in the Kentucky Derby is in serious jeopardy because of a failed postrace drug test, one that led Churchill Downs to suspend Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on Sunday in the latest scandal to plague the sport.
Baffert denied all wrongdoing and promised to be fully transparent with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission during its investigation. Baffert’s barn received word Saturday that Medina Spirit had tested positive for an excessive amount of the steroid betamethasone, which is sometimes used to treat pain and inflammation in horses.
Medina Spirit’s win over Mandaloun in the Derby stands — for now.
“To be clear, if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner,” Churchill Downs officials said in a statement shortly after Baffert held a hastily planned morning news conference outside his barn to announce and respond to the allegations.
The track said failure to comply with the rules and medication protocols jeopardizes the safety of horses and jockeys, the sport’s integrity and the Derby’s reputation.
“Churchill Downs will not tolerate it,” the statement read. “Given the seriousness of the alleged offense, Churchill Downs will immediately suspend Bob Baffert, the trainer of Medina Spirit, from entering any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack.”
Medina Spirit is expected to run in the Preakness on Saturday, barring some abrupt change in plans or a decision from officials at Pimlico or Maryland’s racing commission that would prevent him from entering the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
McDavid hits 100 points in 53rd game
EDMONTON, Alberta — Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists to reach 100 points this season, leading the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
McDavid reached the milestone before the end of the second period of his 53rd game. The 24-year-old became the ninth NHL player — and first in his lifetime — to get to 100 points in 53 games or fewer.
McDavid leads the league in scoring with 32 goals and 68 assists. Edmonton has three games remaining in the regular season.
Leon Draisaitl scored twice and Jesse Puljujarvi also scored for the Oilers. Defenseman Darnell Nurse had a pair of assists and goalie Mike Smith made 22 saves.
The Oilers will finish second in the North Division behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, who clinched the top spot earlier Saturday by beating Montreal 3-2.
Jutanugarn wins LPGA Thailand on home turf
PATTAYA, Thailand — Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 9-under-par 63 in the final round to win the LPGA Thailand by one stroke on Sunday and become the first home winner of the tournament in 14 years.
Jutanugarn’s overall total of 22 under 266 just edged out her fellow Thai Atthaya Thitikul, 18, who missed a four-foot birdie putt at the last to force a playoff.
Jutanugarn’s unblemished round included nine birdies and went some way to making up for her collapse in 2013 when she blew a two-shot lead on the 18th hole with a triple bogey that handed victory to South Korea’s Inbee Park.
“This means the world to me. Since 2013, it’s been one of my biggest dreams to win in Thailand. I’d like to thank the fans for always believing in me. This win is for all of you,” said Jutanugarn who has been playing at the Siam Country Club since 2007 when she was just 11.
Thitikul, who held the tournament lead from the sixth hole until she made a bogey on the 17th, had to be content with second place, her best finish on the LPGA Tour.
Nashville blanks New England Revolution
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — C.J. Sapong scored a first-half goal and Alex Muyl added one in the second and Nashville upended Eastern Conference leader New England 2-0 on Saturday.
Sapong scored on a sliding left-footed tap-in off a header from Walker Zimmerman at the 25th minute. The 1-0 lead marked Nashville’s (1-0-3) first lead of the season.
New England appeared to have tied it at the 48th minute on an apparent goal by Adam Buksa but officials ruled Arnór Ingvi Traustason to be offside. Later, Buksa’s leaping header at the the 63rd minute hit the post.
Muyl scored at the 75th minute when he took a Revs (2-1-1) giveaway and fired a low shot that outstretched keeper Matt Turner couldn’t catch up with.
Gronk donates $1.2M to playground
BOSTON — An aging playground in Boston will be getting a major upgrade through a $1.2 million donation from NFL star Rob Gronkowski.
The former New England Patriot returned to Boston on Friday to deliver a check for the renovation of the Charlesbank Playground on the city’s Charles River Esplanade. Now a tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gronkowski made the donation on behalf of his Gronk Nation Youth Foundation.
Gov. Charlie Baker was there to accept the gift and thank Gronkowski, calling him “a big man with a big heart.”
The money will go to the nonprofit Esplanade Association and to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation for a full renovation of the playground, which is located near the city’s Museum of Science.
A state lawmaker on Friday introduced legislation to rename the playground Gronk Playground.