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Justify Failed Drug Test Prior to Winning 2018 Triple Crown

A report by the New York Times says that Justify failed a drug test just one month prior to racing and winning the 2018 Kentucky Derby. However, the California Horse Racing board made the decision to dismiss the case after the 3-year proceeded to win that year’s Triple Crown.

According to the Times, Justify received a positive result for scopolamine after his victory in the Santa Anita Derby on April 7, which qualified the colt to enter the Derby. Scopolamine can enhance a horse’s performance and has been banned.

The results of the test should have caused Justify to be disqualified, forfeiture of the purse and removal of entry into the Kentucky Derby. However, the newspaper reported that regulators in California waited until nine days prior to the Kentucky Derby, on April 26 to inform Justify’s trainer Bob Baffert.


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Baffert then requested that an independent lab test a second sample which confirmed the first result on May 8, three days following Justify’s victory in the Kentucky Derby.

The CHRB board then moved away from its normal process. Rather than a complaint being filed by the board and a hearing being held, nothing took place until August 23, which was four months following the failed drug test and nearly two months after the colt had won the Triple Crown by following up his win at the Derby with victories in the Preakness and Belmont.

The executive director of the board, Rick Baedeker, presented the case to the commissioners on the board and they voted unanimously to have the case dropped.

The board decided that the results of the test could have resulted from the consumption of contaminated food, but a former lab chief with the Horse Racing Commission in Kentucky Rick Sams told the newspaper the quantity of the drug in the horse’s system suggested it came from intentional intervention.

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