Records Reveal New Details About CHRB Investigation Of Justify Case

As California Horse Racing Board officials investigated a scopolamine positive from eventual 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, they seem to have delayed the process to let the race series finish. A report published June 29 by the Washington Post revealed new details about the case, which originated from a positive post-race test after the 2018 Santa Anita Derby and was kept secret until a New York Times report published in 2019.

It’s well known now in racing circles that the CHRB held a closed-door meeting in which the regulatory agency opted not to pursue any action against Justify’s trainer, Bob Baffert, and declined to disqualify the horse from his victory in the Santa Anita Derby. That meeting took place in the summer after the colt had won the Triple Crown. Justify got into the Kentucky Derby field with qualifying points earned in the Santa Anita Derby.

Records obtained by the Washington Post reveal that Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the CHRB, assured Baffert in late April that the investigation would not likely impact Justify’s impending run in the Triple Crown series. Baffert was notified of the positive ahead of the Kentucky Derby. In an April 26 email, Arthur told the CHRB he had spoken with Baffert and “told him there would be nothing from CHRB before the KY Derby, unlikely before the Preakness and possibly not until after the Belmont. I told him I thought there was a good indication that these were feed contamination.”

CHRB investigators proceeded with their fact-finding mission after the Kentucky Derby and went in search of hay samples to see if they could find jimsonweed, which was blamed by the CHRB and Baffert for the scopolamine overage. They also opted to DNA test the post-race blood samples from Justify and others with detectable levels of scopolamine. Records show Arthur said that testing request would be “a big deal” and asked if it could wait until after the Preakness, which was still a week and a half away.

Test results on hay samples came back after the Preakness and revealed the leafy plant investigators had pulled was milkweed, not jimsonweed. Then, Larry Bell, the owner of the Citrus Feed Company that sold hay to Baffert, showed up at the CHRB office with plant samples he said he had picked up off the ground in the parking lot a month earlier. Those contained jimsonweed, although Bell said he couldn’t tell whether the samples had fallen off a truck delivering a shipment to Baffert. Bell, according to the Post, had previously testified on Baffert’s behalf, although it wasn’t clear in what circumstances.

Read more at the Washington Post

The post Records Reveal New Details About CHRB Investigation Of Justify Case appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.