Friday, 15 November, 2019

Justify failed drug test before winning Triple Crown

7 2018 Justify ridden by Mike Smith gallops during the Santa Anita Derby horse race at Santa Anita Justify failed drug test before winning 2018 Triple Crown
Shannon Reynolds | 13 September, 2019, 21:18

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.

Justify, the colt that swept to USA racing's Triple Crown in 2018, failed a drug test before that year's Kentucky Derby and shouldn't have been eligible to race, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

However, the New York Times has reported Justify had returned a positive swab for scopolamine, a performance enhancing drug that is banned on raceday, after his win in the Santa Anita Derby.

The news could have massive ramifications on the Australian breeding industry with Justify standing at Coolmore Australia after the breeding operation purchased the colt for $60m Dollars. In this year's Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security was disqualified after finishing first, when the stewards ruled it impeded the progress of other horses. "That's impossible. Well, that's not impossible, that would have been careless and reckless for us to tell an investigator what usually takes you two months, you have to get done in five days, eight days".

The Times reported that the decision to dismiss rested on the determination that the positive test could have been the result of contaminated food. "We weren't going to do that", Drape quoted Baedeker as saying.

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After the split sample confirmed the finding, CHRB executive director Rick Baedeker reportedly informed commissioners of the positive and stated a complaint would be issued and a hearing would be scheduled.

The documents do not indicate any tampering from Justify's owners. Baffert did not comment for the Times and Justify, the 13th horse to complete the Triple Crown, no longer races.

The CHRB later changed the penalty for a scopolamine violation to the lesser penalty of a fine and possible suspension.

Despite only racing six times in a career that spanned just six months, Justify stamped himself one of the greats of American racing in becoming the second horse to win the Triple Crown without losing a race.

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

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