Justify Failed a Drug Test Before Winning the Triple Crown

soxhop411

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 4, 2009
34,168
On June 9, 2018, a colt named Justify thundered home to the full-throated cheers of a capacity crowd to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes and claim horse racing’s Triple Crown, one of the most storied achievements in sports.

It was the perfect ending to an improbable journey for a talented horse, his eclectic ownership group, and his Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert.

Only a few people, however, knew the secret that Baffert carried with him into the winner’s circle that day: Justify had failed a drug test weeks before the first race in the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby. That meant Justify should not have run in the Derby, if the sport’s rules were followed.
They were not, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times. Instead of the failed drug test causing a speedy disqualification, the California Horse Racing Board took more than a month to confirm the results. Then, instead of filing a public complaint as it usually does, the board made a series of decisions behind closed doors as it moved to drop the case and lighten the penalty for any horse found to have the banned substance that Justify tested positive for in its system.
Only a handful of racing officials and people connected to Justify knew about the failed drug test, which occurred April 7, 2018, after Justify won the Santa Anita Derby. He tested positive for the drug scopolamine, a banned substance that veterinarians say can enhance performance, especially in the amount that was found in the horse.

Much more at the link.
So yah. This is a pretty big black eye for horse racing and they have a lot of explaining to do. Wonder if the damage this will cause the sport is fixable.
 

jcd0805

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 3, 2007
1,588
Florida
Disgusting. Bob Baffert should be banned, I'm sorry drugging up animals who have no say in the matter is revolting to me. The last triple crown winner is Affirmed.
 

barbed wire Bob

crippled by fear
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Horse racing has been in a serious decline for years. Race tracks are closing, fewer races are being ran, purses are declining and even the number of foals being born is declining. This article from the Louisville Courier Journal talks about the decline and has this telling quote:
“Keep in mind that we’re in a very competitive environment,” said Alex Waldrop, chief executive officer of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. “Not only (from) casinos, but online sports betting that is occurring illegally across the country.

“It could be American Pharoah and Justify are helping us maintain our fan base in the face of some significant competitive threats. Hard to measure what we would have been but for American Pharoah and Justify.”
When you read that, it’s not surprising the horse racing industry turned a blind eye to the failed drug test.

 

edoug

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
2,154
Disgusting. Bob Baffert should be banned, I'm sorry drugging up animals who have no say in the matter is revolting to me. The last triple crown winner is Affirmed.
Did the trainer(s), etc. of American Pharoah do anything?
 

Monbo Jumbo

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 5, 2003
24,087
the other Duluth
In the latest "Horse racing is in decline" news, a yearling filly sired by American Pharoah sold for $8.2 mil yesterday, a record for a filly at the Keeneland sales.
 

barbed wire Bob

crippled by fear
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
In the latest "Horse racing is in decline" news, a yearling filly sired by American Pharoah sold for $8.2 mil yesterday, a record for a filly at the Keeneland sales.
September 13 is a full moon so maybe that explains it. It’s amazing how people can get caught up in auctions.
In the end, Coolmore and Godolphin—the last underbidders holding out—capitulated to Pope. The final price, an eye-popping $8.2 million, was more than four times what the veteran horsewoman had ever paid for a yearling at auction and double what she had been prepared to spend.
"She was the only thing in the sale I really wanted," Pope said of the filly, a daughter of American Pharoah who was bred and consigned by Clarkland Farm as Hip 498. "I was persevering. (GoldMark Farm general manager and trainer Todd Quast) was trying to hold my hands down. He was getting adamant about it, and so was I. I'm getting older and going through the final phases of what I want to do with my life, and this is what I want to do. Lots to live for and lots to go, and we will get our training center off to a good start and we're good."
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 24, 2008
3,706
Seems like this should cause some major lawsuits to me unless everyone in horse racing is totally complicit with doped up horses.

There's the three horses that finished second (including Gronkowski) in the triple crown races that year, two of which were trained by Chad Brown. Surely both their purse for winning plus their value for breeding has been significantly hampered by a place vs a win in a trip crown race. On top of that you have anyone who bet on these and other horses who had their earnings impacted.