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Horse race People like to win, and it usually pays off in both money and prestige. But in today’s world, winning ethically pays big dividends. (Credit: Robert Adrian Hillman/Shutterstock.com)

I was recently excited to watch the running of the Kentucky Derby; however, the (apparently) winning horse, Medina Spirit, later failed a drug test. To a fan of the Sport of Kings, this is very depressing. It was then announced that the horse failed a second test and will likely be disqualified. However, as always seems the case, the facts are disputed by the (apparently) guilty. The narrative presented as defense is that some kind of salve was rubbed on the horse, causing it to fail the test. It’s an eerie reminder of Barry Bonds, who claimed to have been inadvertently given illegal steroids because he rubbed some ointments (“the cream and the clear”) on aching muscles.

I’m neither judge nor jury on whether Medina Spirit was inadvertently doped. But I do know that the name of his trainer, Bob Baffert, has now been added to a list that includes Roger Clemens, Lance Armstrong, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, the Houston Astros, the aforementioned Barry Bonds, and countless others. People who were, through either individual or team success, winners. People who have been–rightly or wrongly–accused of cheating. And in general, the common thread is that their reaction is to deny wrongdoing. Meanwhile, cynics are having a field day.

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