Skip to main content

Sports Triple Crown winner Justify’s positive test came from contaminated food, trainer’s lawyer says

Jockey Mike Smith rides Justify to victory in the Belmont Stakes, also garnering the Triple Crown, in Elmont, N.Y., in June, 2018. Justify failed a drug test after winning the Santa Anita Derby in California, a warm-up event for the Kentucky Derby.

EMMA HOWELLS/The New York Times News Service

A lawyer for Bob Baffert says the Hall of Fame trainer did not intentionally give 2018 Triple Crown winning horse Justify a banned substance that caused a positive test prior to last year’s Kentucky Derby.

Attorney W. Craig Robertson released a statement defending Baffert after the New York Times reported Wednesday that Justify tested positive for Scopolamine in spring 2018. Robertson contends the substance came from contaminated food and that the California Horse Racing Board did the correct thing by not pursuing a lengthy investigation.

Justify tested positive after winning the Santa Anita Derby in California in April, 2018, but was allowed to run in the Kentucky Derby a month later. Robertson writes that Justify passed “any and all drug tests” in Kentucky, Maryland and New York while racing in those states on the way to becoming the 13th Triple Crown winner in history. Justify did not run another race before being retired.

Story continues below advertisement

Reached by text message, Baffert verified the letter from Robertson, which is addressed to the author of The New York Times story.

“Damn shame this great horse, connections and me have to be put through all this. It was obvious environmental contamination. It’s been a known problem in California,” Baffert said in a text message to The Associated Press.

Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm, which co-owns Justify, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

“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 e-mailed to the AP. A CHRB spokesman said Thursday that it didn’t have anything else to add.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter