The Sports Report: Medina Spirit is no longer a Kentucky Derby winner

Exercise rider Humberto Gomez is aboard Medina Spirit in May, 2021.
(Rob Carr / Getty Images)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From John Cherwa: Medina Spirit is no longer the winner of last year’s Kentucky Derby. At least for now.


On Monday, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, a week after it held a hearing, announced it was stripping the since-deceased colt of his victory after he tested positive for a legal drug banned for use on race day. It’s only the third time a winner has been disqualified in the 146-year history of the world’s most famous horse race.

With the disqualification, Mandaloun becomes the winner. However, there will be no refunds or payouts for anyone who bet on the horse. As for bettors, a class-action suit was filed and is working its way forward in the courts.

In addition, trainer Bob Baffert was suspended 90 days and fined $7,500. The suspension is scheduled to begin March 8 and end June 5, but that will be put on hold as Baffert’s attorneys plan to appeal the decision. If the suspension were to stand, it would be honored by all states, not just Kentucky. In addition, the winner’s purse of $1.86 million will have to be returned if the appeal fails.

“We are disappointed by the commission’s ruling, but not surprised,” said Clark Brewster, Baffert’s Tulsa, Okla.-based attorney. “This ruling represents an egregious departure from both the facts and the law, but the numerous public statements by KHRC officials over the last several months have made perfectly clear that Bob Baffert’s fate was decided before we ever sat down for a hearing. … We will appeal, and we will prevail when the facts and rules are presented to detached, neutral decisionmakers.”

Craig Robertson, Baffert’s Louisville-based attorney, expressed similar feelings.

“I am very disappointed in the ruling,” Robertson said. “It runs contrary to the scientifically proven facts in this case and the rules of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.”

The last time a horse was disqualified for a prohibited substance was 1968 when Dancer’s Image was removed as the winner and Forward Pass was given the victory. It took more than four years to settle the case. The only other disqualification was in 2019, when Maximum Security was disqualified because of interference.

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.


From Ben Bolch: Remember UCLA’s desert dud against Arizona State?

This was shaping up as something much worse.

After an energetic first half, the Bruins went completely flat on their home court. Jaime Jaquez Jr. committed a flurry of turnovers. Jules Bernard airballed a three-pointer at the end of a possession coming out of a timeout. Johnny Juzang missed almost every shot he took.

The unease was palpable inside Pauley Pavilion after Arizona State’s Marreon Jackson made a running hook shot to pull the Sun Devils within one point with eight minutes left.

After leading by as many as 17 points late in the first half, the No. 12 Bruins appeared on the brink of a total collapse.

But they finally pulled themselves together, one possession after another, to emerge with a 66-52 victory Monday evening that qualified as a major sigh of relief.

David Singleton drained a three-pointer at the end of the shot clock after sidestepping a defender. Jaquez threw a pass to Cody Riley for a dunk. Jaquez made a couple of free throws.

Eventually, UCLA was back up by 11 points and could exhale.


Recent trouble can’t diminish Martin Jarmond’s rosy outlook for UCLA sports

Michigan’s Juwan Howard suspended five games for hitting a Wisconsin assistant


From Dan Woike: LeBron James’ weekend back in Northeast Ohio exposed all kinds of truths, with the realization of just how much trouble the Lakers are in near the top of that list.

James, an expert at using both subtle and obvious ways of putting pressure on his teams to make changes, seemed to poke at the Lakers throughout his All-Star experience. His comments about Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti had to be viewed against current Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka’s inability to find a move at the trade deadline.

And James’ admission to the Athletic’s Jason Lloyd that he hadn’t closed the door on a return to Cleveland and that he’d be spending the end of his career playing alongside his son, Bronny, were the kinds of comments the Lakers need to take seriously.

Under contract with the team for just one more season, James has sent a strong message — let’s get better and let’s do it quickly.

The trouble, of course, is that James played a large role in putting together this flawed roster. And secondarily, the pathways for the Lakers to do things differently in the upcoming offseason are still fairly limited.

Pelinka, sitting courtside Sunday during the All-Star game, couldn’t have missed what was transpiring in front of him. While the ability of the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry to dominate a game has mostly been unchanged over the last decade, a new crop of All-Stars are making the NBA even younger, more athletic and more dangerous.


From Jeff Miller: He set personal bests in catches and receiving yards while displaying a previously unseen versatility, one that blossomed under the Chargers’ new coaching staff.

After the season, Mike Williams said his No. 1 individual goal entering 2021 was “to have a career year.” He succeeded.

Seeing how that success translates financially is the next step.

Williams, a pending unrestricted free agent, is one of the NFL’s top candidates to be franchise tagged. The two-week window for tagging players begins Tuesday.

By doing so, the Chargers would guarantee Williams a one-year deal worth about $19 million and provide both sides additional time to potentially work on a long-term extension.

If the Chargers don’t tag Williams, he would be free to negotiate with any team beginning March 14.


Baseball negotiations resumed with renewed intensity Monday in an effort to salvage opening day, and Major League Baseball made slight moves toward locked-out players.

With perhaps a week left to preserve opening day, union head Tony Clark attended negotiations for the first time since the MLB lockout began, accompanied by New York Mets stars Max Scherzer and Francisco Lindor.

MLB increased its offer of a bonus pool for prearbitration players by $5 million to $20 million, a fraction of the $115 million the union has asked for.

Clubs also increased their proposal for a lottery for the amateur draft from the top three picks to the top four. Players have asked for the top eight.


1919 — The first dog race track to use an imitation rabbit opens in Emeryville, Calif.

1936 — Figure skater Sonja Henie wins her 10th straight world championship.

1959 — Lee Petty, driving an Oldsmobile, wins the first Daytona 500.

1969 — Barbara Jo Rubin becomes the first female jockey to win a race at an American thoroughbred track. She rides Cohesian to a neck victory over Reely Beeg in the ninth race at Charles Town in West Virginia.

1975 — Madison Square Garden hosts its first women’s college basketball game. In a rematch of the 1973 national championship game, defending national champion Immaculata beats Queens College 65-31 before a crowd of 11,969.

1980 — The U.S. Olympic hockey team stuns the Soviet Union with a 4-3 victory in the medal round of the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. Captain Mike Eruzione scores the winning goal midway through the final period.

1981 — Rookies Peter and Anton Stastny total eight points apiece, sending the Quebec Nordiques past the Washington Capitals 11-7. Peter has four goals and four assists; Aaron has three goals and five assists.

1988 — Hersey Hawkins scores 63 points to lead Bradley over Detroit 122-107. Archie Tullos scores 49 points for the Titans.

1988 — Bonnie Blair wins America’s second gold medal at the Winter Olympics in world-record time, beating Christa Rothenburger of East Germany by .02 seconds in the 500-meter speed skating.

1990 — Lionel Simmons scores 27 points to move into fourth place of the NCAA Division I scoring list at 3,024 and becomes the fifth player to score 3,000 points as the Explorers beat Manhattan 100-60.

1993 — Glenn Anderson becomes the 36th NHL player with 1,000 points, picking up a goal and two assists to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Vancouver Canucks 8-1.

1998 — Bjorn Dahlie, the Norwegian cross-country skiing great, extends his Winter Olympics record by picking up his 12th medal, and record eighth gold, in the last race of Nagano — the 50-kilometer.

2006 — Gene Bess becomes the first college basketball coach to win 1,000 games when Three Rivers Community College beat Forest Park 77-60.

2008 — Lindsey Vonn clinches the World Cup downhill title, becoming the first American woman to claim the crown since Picabo Street in 1996. Nadia Styger of Switzerland wins the race at Whistler, British Columbia with Vonn finishing 0.01 behind Styger.

2008 — The Indy Racing League and the Champ Car World Series sign a deal to unify the two American open-wheel circuits, bringing them under the umbrella of the IRL.

2010 — Caltech ends its 310-game conference losing streak in men’s basketball beating Occidental College 46-45 in its season finale.

2013 — The Chicago Blackhawks sets an NHL record for the best start to a season, beating the San Jose Sharks 2-1 to give them at least one point in their first 17 games.

2016 — Tennessee’s 31-year run in the AP’s women’s college basketball rankings ends. The Lady Vols had been ranked for 565 consecutive weeks. The streak started Feb. 17, 1985.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

Caltech ends its 310-game conference losing streak. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.