Medina Spirit collapsed near the finish line just as he was completing a workout and died immediately, the CHRB tells CNN.
“Following the completion of a routine morning workout, Medina Spirit collapsed on the track at Santa Anita Park and died suddenly of a probable cardiac event according to the on site veterinary team who attended to him,” Santa Anita Park said in a statement.
The news was also confirmed by its Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who said the three-year-old champion colt died from a “heart attack” following a workout, but the CHRB will not determine cause of death until a necropsy and toxicology tests are complete. The examination and tests will be conducted at the University of California, Davis.
“My entire barn is devastated by this news,” Baffert’s statement read.
“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.”
As well as being an exciting racehorse, Medina Spirit was the subject of one of the sport’s biggest controversies in the US earlier this year.
After crossing the line first in this year’s Kentucky Derby, the horse failed a post-race drug test.
Trainer Baffert was subsequently banned from fielding any horses at the Churchill Downs racetrack for two years following the confirmation of the positive test.
A statement from the Santa Anita racetrack on Monday confirmed a full necropsy will take place to determine the exact cause of the sudden death.