Baffert -- Justify's positive test due to tainted food

Jose Verdugo
Setiembre 13, 2019

Robertson contends the substance came from contaminated food.

Baffert said Justify passed drug tests in Kentucky, Maryland and NY on the way to the Triple Crown and called on those states' testing agencies to "immediately release information related to Justify's test results" there.

After Baffert called on racing officials in Kentucky, Maryland and NY to release Justify's test results, each one said everything came back negative.

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.

This should have been more than enough for officials to disqualify Justify from further competition, and surely warranted banning the young horse from participating in the upcoming Kentucky Derby.

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Churchill Downs released a statement Thursday saying Justify's pre and post-race tests came back clean, and neither the track nor the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission knew of the positive test from California. Baffert trained the only two Triple Crown winners in the past three decades: Justify in 2018 and American Pharoah in 2015. He also insists Baffert was insulated from communications with the California Horse Racing Board after an initial notification of a possible test failure, and that the decision to drop the case was the board's alone.

"Justify is one of the finest horses I've had the privilege of training and by any standard is one of the greatest of all time, " Baffert said. "I am proud to stand by his record, and my own", Baffert said.

While defending his own actions, Baffert said he had no input into or influence on decisions made by the California board, which came under fire for treating this situation differently from past precedent.

"Given all the foregoing facts, I was confident that Mr. Baffert would ultimately prevail if the CHRB pursued the matter, " Robertson wrote. 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.

The California Horse Racing Board said in a statement emailed to the AP: "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".

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