Justify failed drug test before winning Triple Crown in 2018

13 Septembre, 2019, 21:14 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Justify ridden by Mike Smith crosses the finish line to win the 2018 Belmont Stakes and become the 13th horse to complete US racing's Triple Crown

Four months after Justify became the 13th Triple Crown victor, the board threw out the drug test all together, citing that the test could have been the result of the horse eating jimson weed, which is known to contain high levels of scopolamine. Baffert did not comment for the Times and Justify, the 13th horse to complete the Triple Crown, no longer races.

11 that 2018 Triple Crown victor Justify tested positive for scopolamine after his victory in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in early April 2018.

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. "We weren't going to do that".

Drape, citing records and correspondence related to the case, also reported that Dr. Rick Arthur, the CHRB's equine medical director, told Baedeker, board lawyers and the board's chief investigator on April 20, 2018, two days after the board learned of the positive test, that the case "would be handled differently than usual". Justify's trainer Bob Baffert was reportedly told about the drug test nearly three weeks after it happened.

"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.

The breeding rights to Justify, who retired undefeated shortly after the 2018 Belmont Stakes, were sold for $60 million after the horse won the Preakness Stakes.

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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.

Scopolamine, also known as hyoscine, is banned in horse racing because it can improve horses' breathing and heart-rate.

Scopolamine is used to treat gastrointestinal upset in humans.

Rick Baedeker, executive director of the CHRB, stated that regulators moved cautiously due to the fact that scopolamine can be found naturally in jimsonweed and then inadvertently mixed into horse feed. There is no California law prohibiting such conflicts, Drape reported.

The documents reviewed by the Times showed no evidence of tampering by Justify's owners.

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