Justify's failed drugs test caused by contaminated feed - Bob Baffert

Bob Baffert with Justify
Justify (pictured with trainer Bob Baffert) won all six starts and earned more than £2.8m in prize money

Trainer Bob Baffert "unequivocally rejects" claims that last year's Triple Crown winner Justify was deliberately given a banned substance.

On Wednesday, the New York Times revealed the colt had tested positive for scopolamine at the Santa Anita Derby in California in May 2018, less than a month before winning the Kentucky Derby.

Baffert says the substance - found in a weed grown in the American state - entered Justify's system through contaminated feed.

"I unequivocally reject any implication that scopolamine was ever intentionally administered to Justify, or any of my horses," said Baffert.

"Test results indicating trace amounts of the drug were undoubtedly the result of environmental contamination caused by the presence of jimson weed in feed, a naturally growing substance in areas where hay and straw are produced in California.

"In addition, I had no input into, or influence on, the decisions made by the California Horse Racing Board."

Undefeated Justify became the 13th horse to complete US Flat racing's Triple Crown in June 2018, but was retired the following month because of an ankle injury.

He passed drugs tests at the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

Chuck Winner, the chairman of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) at the time, said Justify was one of a number of horses, from different trainers, at Santa Anita who tested positive for scopolamine.

He added there was "overwhelming evidence" jimson weed was present in the hay used in the barns.

"It would have been a complete miscarriage of justice for the CHRB to have taken action against Justify or Baffert, knowing full well that the horse was poisoned by an environmental contaminate and not injected with a substance," said Winner.

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