Trainer of Triple Crown winner Justify disputes report on failed drug test

Justify, Bolt d'Oro, Javier Castellano, Mike Smith

FILE – In this April 7, 2018, file photo, Justify, ridden by Mike Smith, gallops past Bolt d’Oro, left, with jockey Javier Castellano, during the Santa Anita Derby horse race at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. Justify won the race, and Bolt d’Oro came in second. The New York Times says Justify won the 2018 Triple Crown after a failed postrace drug test at Santa Anita that could have kept the horse out of the Kentucky Derby. The newspaper reported Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, that Bob Baffert-trained Justify tested positive for the drug scopolamine after winning the Santa Anita Derby. Justify went on to win the Derby and took the Preakness and Belmont stakes to complete the Triple Crown. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Arcadia, Ca. (CBS NEWS) – The trainer of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify is denying he did anything wrong after a report said his horse tested positive for a banned substance.

The New York Times reported that Justify failed a drug test that should have disqualified him weeks before the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown.

According to the report, the banned drug was scopolamine, which is normally used to treat nausea and muscle spasms in humans. The report went on to say that the California Horse Racing Board kept the test results secret and they took a month to confirm the results.

But Dr. Mary Scollay, who is the executive director for a horse racing testing consortium, said it is unlikely that any trainer would willingly give their horse scopolamine because of its negative side effects.

“I don’t believe that there would be a reason to administer to a horse. I think the possibility of adverse events is much greater than any potential for beneficial events,” Scollay said.

The attorney for Bob Baffert, Justify’s trainer, said there was “no intentional administration” by his client. “In addition to support that, we’re talking about minuscule levels of the substance,” said attorney Craig Robertson.

The medical director of the California Horse Racing Board said Thursday they threw out the results because the sample was the result of contamination of jimson weed, which is often found in natural feed products that are given to horses.

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