Justify failed drug test before winning 2018 Triple Crown

Ross Houston
September 12, 2019

However, if the California Horse Racing Board had followed the rules, Justify would never have even run the Triple Crown's first race.

According to the report, it was later suggested that Justify's positive test could have come from contaminated food and, as such, the positive drug test was thrown out altogether.

However, the New York Times has reported Justify had returned a positive swab for scopolamine, a performance enhancing drug that is banned on raceday, after his win in the Santa Anita Derby.

Justify, the 13th horse in the last 100 years to win thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, failed a drug test just weeks before the 2018 Kentucky Derby, according to The New York Times.


The report notes that the presence of jimson weed that is sometimes found in horse feed can result in a positive test for scopolamine.

The failed drug test would usually trigger a quick process leading to disqualification, but that wasn't the case this time around.

Four months after Justify became the 13th Triple Crown victor, the board threw out the drug test all together, citing that the test could have been the result of the horse eating jimson weed, which is known to contain high levels of scopolamine. "We weren't going to do that".

By the time all was said-and-done Justify had won the Triple Crown.


"I think it has to come from intentional intervention", he said.

Such a result should have resulted in a disqualification, purse forfeiture and the removal of his Kentucky Derby entry.

The California Horse Racing Board investigated Baffert in 2013 when seven of his horses unexpectedly died at Inglewood's Hollywood Park over the course of 16 months.

"It was legally dispensed and reported as labeled", Dr. Rick Arthur said after overseeing necropsies of the dead horses.


A group of owners, who hold a majority stake at WinStar Farm - a horse breeding and racing farm - reportedly sold Justify's breeding rights to Coolmore Stud for $60 million after the horse's victory at Preakness Stakes - the second race in the Triple Crown circuit.

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