Triple Crown victor Justify failed drug test before Kentucky Derby

Justify failed drug test before winning 2018 Triple Crown

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 Times indicates trainer Bob Baffert, who did not provide comment on the story, was informed of the positive before Justify shipped to Kentucky for the Derby, and exercised his right to a split sample test.

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. However, if the California Horse Racing Board had followed the rules, Justify would never have even run the Triple Crown's first race.

A New York Times report has called into question champion United States galloper Justify's famous 2018 Triple Crown win.

Justify had to win the Santa Anita Derby in order to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. However, the failed drug test should have meant automatic disqualification of both the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derby, as well as forfeiture of any prize money. 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. Then, two months after the Belmont victory, the board disposed of the inquiry altogether during a closed-door executive session.

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"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.

Two months after dismissing the Justify case, the California board changed the penalty for a failed scopolamine test from a disqualification to a fine and a possible suspension.

His report noted that Justify's ownership group included "power brokers" in horse racing, in particular WinStar Farm and China Horse Group, but that the documents the Times reviewed showed no evidence the group pressured or interefered with California regulators.

Justify's incredible Triple Crown triumph previous year may be tainted. Scopolamine can be found in jimson weed, which can sometimes get mixed in with feed and enter a horse's system. "We weren't going to do that", Drape quoted Baedeker as saying.

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