Given the evolving news about failed drug tests by Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit this week and him potentially being stripped of his victory, those bettors holding Mandaloun win tickets are no doubt furious.
While there’s plenty of joy in those who cashed in on Medina Spirit’s 12-1 odds, others will point out that Mandaloun went off at odds of nearly 27-1.
Should race organizer Churchill Downs disqualify Medina Spirit, it would mark the second time in Derby history that a horse was disqualified for failing a drug test in the days after the race.
In 1968, Dancer’s Image suffered that fate and Forward Pass was declared the winner. However, the decision did not affect the race’s payouts, which reflected Dancer’s Image as the winner despite a painkiller showing up in his post-race urinalysis. Forward Pass so happened to be the odds-on favorite in that race.
Rough break for Mandaloun bettors
Bob Heleringer, author of Equine Regulatory Law, previously told Louisville’s Courier Journal that winning bets are finalized once the race is declared and that does not change. He described it as “one of the most irrevocable standards in racing” and said it is a law in every state, reported the New York Post and others this week.
Horseplayer and horse racing columnist and analyst Andrew Champagne is among those sympathizing with some of the betting public. He wrote this week:
“Those who bet Mandaloun — who ran his eyeballs out to be second and tested clean — feel robbed. Those who took to social media to complain after the Derby, either because they didn’t use a 12-1 Bob Baffert trainee in a race that Baffert had won six times before last weekend, or because they genuinely felt something was afoot, have all the ammo they need to say the game is crooked.
“Cries of ‘I’M NEVER BETTING AGAIN’ from those who shove the GDP of a developing nation through the windows or ADWs will always come across as hollow and/or ego-driven, [however].”
The Triple Clowns host a regular YouTube channel program that discusses horse racing.
It said, “If you suspend horses/trainers for this race before due process, and even consider paying first-place money to people for a second-place finish because a horse basically took an ibuprofen two weeks before, you will set back not only horse racing, but all major sports betting in this country.
“I am sure there will be a line out the door to collect money on wagers people placed on the Colts (DeflateGate), the Rams (SpyGate), all bets against the trash-ban banging Astros, and all bets against Roger Clemens’ starts.”
This is the second tainted Kentucky Derby in the past three: In 2019, Maximum Security became the first Derby winner to be disqualified, and Country House, a 65-1 long shot who finished second, was declared the winner. Stewards ruled that Maximum Security stumbled into the path of other horses during the race.