Justify won the 150th running on the Belmont Stakes to complete the 13th Triple Crown in horse racing history.
Justify's incredible Triple Crown triumph past year may be tainted.
The colt tested positive for scopolamine - which the U.S. Library of Medicine indicates could enhance performance in horses - on April 7, less than a month before the Kentucky Derby, according to the New York Times. In the mid-1990s, fines issued to five trainers in California over scopolamine positives were rescinded after the trainers attributed the presence of the drug to jimson weed.
According to the report, California regulators waited almost three weeks to notify Justify's trainer Bob Baffert of the positive test result, nine days before the May 5 running of the Kentucky Derby.
After Justify won the Triple Crown, Drape says that the California Horse Racing Board disposed of the inquiry and decided that "the positive test could have been a result of Justify's eating contaminated food".
The California Horse Racing Board's executive director Rick Baedeker "acknowledged that it was a delicate case because of its timing" since the Derby was just weeks away. "We weren't going to do that".
However, the horse racing world is small and interconnected. Dr. Rick Sams, former laboratory director for LGC Science Inc., told the Times scopolamine can act as a bronchodilator and that the amount detected in Justify "was excessive".
"I think it has to come from intentional intervention", Sams told the Times. Members of the board, including chairman Chuck Winner, reportedly own an interest in horses trained by Baffert.
Baffert was exonerated after the board determined that the administration of the drug did not violate any rules. There is no violation of any rules.
However, the New York Times alleges the CHRB did not follow its usual process of "filing a public complaint" on the matter and "made a series of decisions behind closed doors" to drop the case.
The Triple Crown has been mired in controversy over the past year.