Justify failed a drug test before 2018 Kentucky Derby

Justify failed drug test before winning 2018 Triple Crown

The New York Times posted an article on Wednesday saying that the colt Justify failed a drug test weeks before the Kentucky Derby.

The newspaper reported that Justify, trained by Bob Baffert, tested positive for scopolamine, banned as a potential performance-enhancer, after winning the Santa Anita Derby in California on April 7, 2018.

According to the report, citing documents reviewed by the newspaper, the California Horse Racing Board took more than three weeks to notify Baffert that the horse had failed the test, advising him nine days before the Kentucky Derby.

"We take seriously the integrity of horse racing in California and are committed to implementing the highest standards of safety and accountability for all horses, jockeys and participants, " the California Horse Racing Board said in a statement.

You can read the full story by the New York Times here. California horsemen, however, moved slowly in investigating the test; that delay, in turn, allowed Justify to race in, and win, the Ketucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes and become the 13th Triple Crown victor in thoroughbred racing history. It was one of the final prep races for the Kentucky Derby. The failed drug test would mean disqualification and the prize money and Kentucky Derby spot, according to the New York Times. W. Craig Robertson III wrote that Justify was not intentionally given scopolamine and that the horse passed any drug testing at the sites of the Triple Crown races.

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After the split sample confirmed the finding, CHRB executive director Rick Baedeker reportedly informed commissioners of the positive and stated a complaint would be issued and a hearing would be scheduled. "That's impossible. Well, that's not impossible, that would have been careless and reckless for us to tell an investigator what usually takes you two months, you have to get done in five days, eight days".

Baffert did not respond to the Times's inquiries for comment.

Instead, the board eventually buried the case, and in October lessened the punishment for horses caught for using the drug to a fine and possibly a suspension rather than a disqualification.

Baedeker told Drape that scopolamine also occurs naturally in jimson weed, which springs up where dung is present.

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