Bob Baffertbelieves he's figured out why his Kentucky Derby-winning horse Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned substance ... and it all may stem from a case of dermatitis.
As we previously reported, Medina Spirit was popped for betamethasone in a post-race test ... begging the question, did Baffert cheat to win?
Bob issued a new statement Tuesday morning explaining why he believes MS tested positive ... and insists it has NOTHING to do with cheating.
Baffert says Medina Spirit developed a skin condition called dermatitis following the Santa Anita Derby back in April ... so he took the horse to a vet to get checked out.
Bob says the vet "recommended the use of an anti-fungal ointment called Otomax. The veterinary recommendation was to apply this ointment daily to give the horse relief, help heal the dermatitis, and prevent it from spreading."
Bob says his barn followed the recommendation and Medina Spirit was treated with the medication "once a day up until the day before the Kentucky Derby."
"Yesterday, I was informed that one of the substances in Otomax is betamethasone."
"While we do not know definitively that this was the source of the alleged 21 picograms founds in Medina Spirit's post-race blood sample, and our investigation is continuing, I have been told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results."
In other words, Bob now seems to open to the fact he may have unwittingly given his horse a banned substance.
Question is ... shouldn't a legendary, experienced trainer know if there's a banned substance in medication before administering it?
Pro athletes in other sports are responsible for what they put in their bodies ... so shouldn't horse trainers share the same burden?
Bob has been suspended by Churchill Downs in Kentucky pending the results of a formal investigation -- but he insists Medina Spirit will run at the Preakness in Maryland this weekend and has threatened legal action if event organizers try to block him.