Medina Spirit, winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby, collapsed and died Monday morning on the track at Santa Anita following a workout. No official cause of death has been announced pending a necropsy, although a cadiac event is suspected.

“At the end of the breeze, he was slowing down at the wire,” reported Dr. Jeff Blea, California Horse Racing Board equine medical director. “Right after the wire, he looked odd, and you could see the horse stagger and then he just laid down past the wire. Track vets got to him right away, but he was already gone. These types of things are presumed to be cardio-vascular events.”

The Florida-bred 3-year-old colt by Protonico was finishing a five-furlong breeze around 7:45 a.m. when he collapsed near the finish line.

Including the Kentucky Derby and Awesome Again Stakes, Medina Spirit won five of 10 lifetime starts. He finished second to Knicks Go in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 5th, his final race. The horse was at the center of a high-profile controversy involving trainer Bob Baffert’s use of medication not legal on race day.

Baffert said in a statement, “It is with great sadness that I am reporting Medina Spirit passed away today from a heart attack at Santa Anita following a workout. My entire barn is devastated by this news. Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we are deeply mourning his loss. I will always cherish the proud and personal memories of Medina Spirit and his tremendous spirit. Our most sincere condolences go out to Mr. Amr Zedan and the entire Zedan Racing Stables family. They are in our thoughts and prayers as we go through this difficult time.”