THOROUGHBRED RACING LEGEND
SUSPENDED FOR DRUG VIOLATION
By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis CPP
Freelance Writer and Author
July 18, 2020
© July 2020 – All Rights Reserved
Posted On All About Cutting Online Magazine.
Glory Ann Kurtz - Editor
BOB BAFFERT SUSPENDED (15) DAYS FOR DRUG POSITIVES
The Thoroughbred Racing Industry and the New York Times are reporting that Thoroughbred Racing Legend “Bob Baffert” has been suspended for (15) days following two of Baffert’s top Thoroughbred Race Horses testing positive for a numbing agent. In the New York Times July 15, 2020 article, by Joe Drape, Drape reports: Two top horses, including an Arkansas Derby winner, were found to have a numbing agent in their systems. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/sports/bob-baffert-suspended-charlatan-gamine.amp.html
The Arkansas Racing Commission suspended the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert for 15 days on Wednesday and vacated the victories of two of his horses after they tested positive for a banned substance.
One of the horses, Charlatan, won a division of the Arkansas Derby on May 2. The colt’s owners will forfeit the $300,000 in prize money for finishing first. The owner of the other horse, a filly named Gamine, must forfeit a $36,000 first-place check won in an allowance race earlier that day. The suspension will run from Aug. 1 to 15.
On June 20, Gamine won the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park in New York by nearly 19 lengths in a stakes-record time of 1 minute 32.55 seconds, a performance that inspired talk of the filly taking on males in the Kentucky Derby, which is scheduled for Sept. 5.
Baffert is America’s pre-eminent active trainer. He has won the Kentucky Derby five times. In 2015, he trained American Pharoah, the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Baffert won his second Triple Crown in 2018 with the colt Justify.Baffert has also caught the attention of regulators over the years.
BAFFERT’S PREVIOUS DRUG TEST POSITIVES
These are his 26th and 27th drug violations, according to public records compiled by the Association of Racetrack Commissioners International and the Thoroughbred Regulatory Rulings database maintained by the Jockey Club.Charlatan and Gamine had two samples test positive for lidocaine, a local numbing agent, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case had not been fully adjudicated. The Times reported on the positive tests of their first samples in late May.
Lidocaine can be used legitimately for suturing wounds or as a diagnostic tool to determine if horses are sound enough to compete. The drug may also be present in ointments or creams used on cuts or abrasions. It is regulated because of its potential to mask lameness in an unsound horse.
In a hearing, Baffert and his representatives argued that the horses were accidentally exposed to the lidocaine by an assistant trainer, Jimmy Barnes, who had applied a medicinal patch to his own back. Barnes had broken his pelvis, and the brand of patch he used, Salonpas, contains small amounts of Lidocaine. The drug was transferred from his hands through the application of a tongue tie, they said.
A lawyer for Baffert, W. Craig Robertson, said the trainer was disappointed in the ruling and planned to appeal. In a statement, he said, “This is a case of innocent exposure and not intentional administration.”
Four days after Charlatan’s runaway victory in the Arkansas Derby, the colt’s stallion rights were sold for an undisclosed sum to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms. The colt missed the Belmont Stakes with an ankle injury, and Baffert has said he will miss the Kentucky Derby, as well. Charlatan may be able to come back in time for the Preakness on Oct. 3.
Baffert-trained Justify failed a drug test after winning the Santa Anita Derby, nearly a month before the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Justify wound up winning the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont that year for the Triple Crown. The rule on the books when Justify failed the test required that the horse be disqualified, forfeiting both his prize money from the Santa Anita Derby and his entry into the Kentucky Derby.
California racing officials investigated the failed test for four months, allowing Justify to keep competing long enough to win the Triple Crown. In August, after Justify’s breeding rights had been sold for $60 million, the California Horse Racing Board — whose chairman at the time, Chuck Winner, had employed Baffert to train his horses — disposed of the inquiry in a rare closed-door session.
The board ruled that Justify’s positive test for the banned drug scopolamine had been the result of “environmental contamination,” not intentional doping. Baffert has denied any wrongdoing, but the quantity of the drug found in Justify suggested that it was present not because of contamination in his feed or his bedding but rather because of an effort to enhance performance, according to Dr. Rick Sams, who ran the drug lab for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission from 2011 to 2018. Mick Ruis, the owner of the second-place horse in the Santa Anita Derby, is in litigation with California officials to have his colt Bolt d’Oro declared the winner and awarded the $600,000 first-place check.
Mick Ruis, the owner of the second-place horse in the Santa Anita Derby, is in litigation with California officials to have his colt Bolt d’Oro declared the winner and awarded the $600,000 first-place check.
THOROUGHBRED RACING HAS LONG HISTORY OF HORSE DOPING
It’s a known fact, the Thoroughbred Racing industry has a long and established history of trainers and owners doping horses, in order to enhance performance, to win Thoroughbred horse races. It’s also a know FACT, these Sports-Enhancing-Drugs are directly related to a significant number of horses being crippled on the racetrack at a very early age. Still another known fact is: A large majority of these Thoroughbred race horses; crippled or not, end up in the horse slaughter pipeline destined for horse slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada.
THOROUGHBRED RACING INDUSTRIES - SMOKE AND MIRRORS
Whenever, the Thoroughbred Racing Industry is under extreme scrutiny, by the public, its propaganda campaign kicks into high gear. There’s always an investigation – without resolution, it’s always someone else’s fault, or it’s bad track dirt that’s causing the on-the-track Thoroughbred Race Horse deaths. In truth and reality, it’s the Thoroughbred Racing Industries fault and lack of meaningful action - nothing more, nothing less. The Thoroughbred Racing Commission acts tough but in truth and reality, their actions can be seen as an appeasement to the public and nothing more. Sure, Thoroughbred Race Horses have positive drug test results, in some instances trainers are suspended, and in some cases they pay fines.
However, the reality of the drug test positives are: No one goes to prison for these law violations which are nothing more than animal abuse, no one, if ever, is suspended from the industry for life, Thoroughbred Race Horses are still being crippled, the horse slaughter pipeline is still full of Thoroughbred Race Horses, and the betting public is still being fleeced out of their money, by unscrupulous trainers and owners. SMOKE AND MIRRORS.
It’s this authors opinion, that in order for the Thoroughbred Racing industry to be cleaned up it’s going to take Federal Intervention. Owners and Trainers have to go to prison and sustain hefty fines and penalties for their infractions as well as life suspensions from the industry. What’s happening now is nothing more than a slap on the wrist and an appeasement for the general public, without meaningful effective change being incorporated in the industry.
“UNTIL NEXT TIME, KEEP EM BETWEEN THE BRIDLE!”