Analysis: Picking Medina Spirit in Preakness is a shaky play

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The conversation this week should be about how Medina Spirit ran a sensational race at the Kentucky Derby, raving about how the horse’s rags-to-riches story is just the type of feel-good tale that the world needs in some brutally difficult times.

Instead, the discussions are about picograms.

For now, Medina Spirit is the Kentucky Derby winner, after crossing the line ahead of all others at Churchill Downs two weeks ago. After the race a drug test showed the colt had a bit — 21 picograms per milliliter of blood, to be precise — of the steroid betamethasone in his system.

Here’s what it means for bettors now: Absolutely nobody knows if the past performances from Medina Spirit — the data that will be pored over time and again before people plunk some cash down to bet on Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico — were on an equal playing field with other horses in those races.

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