Justify reportedly failed a drug test one month prior to the 2018 Kentucky Derby, according to the New York Times.
Per the report, the California Horse Racing Board decided to dismiss the case after the horse went on to win the Triple Crown.
Justify allegedly tested positive for scopolamine, a banned substance that can enhance performance, after winning the Santa Anita Derby back in April of 2018, and qualifying for the Kentucky Derby in the process.
The failed test should have resulted in a disqualification, a forfeit of the winning purse, and the removal of the Kentucky Derby entry, but California regulators waited nine days prior to the Kentucky Derby to inform Justify’s trainer, and Hall of Famer, Bob Baffert.
Baffert then requested a second sample be tested, this time by an independent lab, and the results were later confirmed on May 8th, which came 3 days after Justify won the Kentucky Derby.
As opposed to filing a complaint or holding a hearing, the racing board diverted from it’s normal course of action and instead waited until August 23rd, which was four months after the failed test and two months following Justify’s Triple Crown victory.
According to the report, the board came to the decision that the test results could have come from contaminated food that Justify ate, but the report, which cites the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s former drug lab chief, Rick Sams, says that the amount of scopolamine in Justify’s system suggested it “has to come from intentional intervention.”
“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, saying that a further statement would be available on Thursday.