LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Thoroughbred trainer Bob Baffert is responding to a report that one of his two winners of the Arkansas Derby divisions at Oaklawn Park on May 2 tested positive for a banned substance.
The Courier Journal reported Tuesday that a source confirmed to the newspaper that two of the 15 Baffert horses to race at Oaklawn this spring tested positive for banned substances, including one of his Arkansas Derby division winners, though the source could not identify which Baffert horses tested positive.
Baffert’s Arkansas Derby winners Nadal, the points leader in the modified Road to the Kentucky Derby points chase and Charlatan, who is No. 4 on that list, are both Triple Crown contenders, and both could be headed to the June 20 Belmont Stakes. But one of them might proceed under a cloud.
In the event of a positive test, Arkansas Racing Commission rules allow trainers to request another sample to be tested, a process that generally takes several weeks. A spokesperson for the commission confirmed that it is awaiting split sample tests on the May 2 card, according to the racing website The Paulick Report.
In a statement released to the media on Tuesday, Baffert said, “The rules of the Arkansas Racing Commission mandate confidentiality concerning any investigation into an alleged rule violation until there is a written decision of the Stewards. I am extremely disappointed that, in this instance, the Commission has not followed its own rules on confidentiality. I am hoping for an expedited investigation and look forward to being able to speak soon about any written decision of the Stewards if and when it becomes necessary and I'm allowed to under the Commission's confidentiality rules.”
Last September, Baffert came under scrutiny when The New York Times reported that Justify had tested positive for a banned substance at Santa Anita Park before beginning his Triple Crown run. Instead of ordering a swift disqualification, the California Horse Racing Board took more than a month to confirm the report and never made its findings public.
Baffert claimed the positive test came from Justify ingesting jimson weed with his feed at the California track.
In the end, no action was taken to amend the colt’s record or Triple Crown accomplishment.
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