Bob Baffert: Justify's positive test came from contaminated food

Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test before winning it all					
								
			
	
		Mike Wehner			@MikeWehner					September 12th 2019 at 1:02 PM					 Share Tweet

Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test before winning it all Mike Wehner @MikeWehner September 12th 2019 at 1:02 PM Share Tweet

Justify won the 2018 Triple Crown after a failed post-race drug test at a California track that could have kept the horse out of the Kentucky Derby, according to a report in the New York Times. Justify was allowed to continue racing and won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes to become the 13th Triple Crown victor in history.

Baffert released a statement Thursday afternoon saying he didn't have an impact on any decision made by California regulators. "Test results indicating trace amounts of the drug were undoubtedly the result of environmental contamination caused by the presence of Jimson Weed in feed, a naturally growing substance in areas where hay and straw are produced in California".

The newspaper said test results, emails and internal memorandums show how California regulators waited almost three weeks, until the Kentucky Derby was only nine days away, to notify Baffert of the positive test.

After Baffert called on racing officials in Kentucky, Maryland and NY to release Justify's test results, each one said everything came back negative. It went on to win the Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

Some feel the horse should've been banned from the Derby, if not each of the Triple Crown races. Baffert trained the only two Triple Crown winners in the past three decades: Justify in 2018 and American Pharoah in 2015.

The attorney for Bob Baffert, Justify's trainer, said there was "no intentional administration" by his client. "I am proud to stand by his record, and my own", Baffert said. Upon notification of the positive test result, Robertson told the board to deal with him and not Baffert from that point forward.

Despite the positive results, the California Horse Racing Board voted unanimously in August 2018 not to proceed with the complaint or hearing against Baffert. "This left the CHRB with two choices - either pursue a frivolous case that had no merit at great taxpayer expense, or exercise reason and common sense and decide to take no further action". But Dr. Mary Scollay, who is the executive director for a horse racing testing consortium, said it is unlikely that any trainer would willingly give their horse scopolamine because of its negative side effects.

"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.

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