Question: Why is this serial cheater still in business?
The excellent Tim Sullivan at the Louisville Courier-Journal reports, May 26, 2020:
Two of trainer Bob Baffert’s horses tested positive for banned substances during the recent meet at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, including one of his top 3-year-olds, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Courier Journal Tuesday.
Twice winner of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, Baffert* won both divisions of the May 2 Arkansas Derby with Charlatan and Nadal. Charlatan is the 5-1 favorite for the 2020 Kentucky Derby, according to Vegasinsider.com, while Nadal is 9-1.
The source said one of the two had tested positive but was not certain which of the two. Baffert horses ran 15 races during the Oaklawn meet in Hot Springs, winning nine.
Messages left for Baffert and the Arkansas Racing Commission were not immediately returned Tuesday.
“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,” Baffert said in a prepared statement. “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.”
An initial positive test is not enough to disqualify a horse. When notified of a drug overage, a horseman can choose to send a “split” sample to an approved lab for a second opinion. According to the Paulick Report, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Racing Commission confirmed that the commission is awaiting split sample tests on the May 2 card.
Baffert won all three races he entered on that card, the two divisions of the Arkansas Derby and an allowance optional claiming race won by Gamine, a 3-year-old filly.
Typically, tests of the second sample take two to three weeks to complete. The rescheduled Belmont Stakes, the first leg of this year’s Triple Crown, is to set for June 20.
— “Charlatan, a Belmont Stakes Contender, Tests Positive for a Banned Substance“, Joe Drape, New York Times (May 26, 2020)
Featured Image: Bob Baffert talks with the media before Justify took to the sloppy Pimlico surface. (Photo: Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal)
*We predict when all is said and done, Baffert’s Triple Crown “wins” will have an asterisk beside them in the record books as being highly questionable victories because of his legacy of cheating and doping horses. They should take the titles away from him altogether.