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It is reported that the Bob Baffert-owned Justify tested positive to scopolamine, a banned substance claimed to enhance performance.
A laboratory at the University of California advised the CHRB that Justify had tested positive for scopolamine, which is used to treat stomach issues, on April 18 but the controlling body advised Baffert of the irregularity on April 26. Rather than filing a complaint and holding a hearing, nothing happened until August 23, four months after the failed test and two months after Justify had completed his Triple Crown run by winning the Belmont Stakes. Baffert asked that another sample from his horse's April exam be tested and sent to an approved independent lab, but the findings of that exam came in after Justify had already won the first leg of the Triple Crown. 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.
Instead of immediately disqualifying the Kentucky Derby favorite, the California Horse Racing Board took more than a month to confirm the results and withheld from publicly disclosing the results when it did, according to the report.
The documents reviewed by the Times showed no evidence of tampering by Justify's owners.
The board's executive director, Rick Baedeker, took the unprecedented path of presenting the case directly to the board's commissioners, who voted unanimously to drop the case, according to the Times.
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. "We weren't going to do that".
Justify was estimated to be valued at $75 million after securing the Triple Crown.