“Heavily favored Gamine (1-5) added to her glowing resume with a 10-length romp in the $200,000, Grade 2 Great Lady M Stakes on Monday, the final day of the summer meet at Los Alamitos,’’ reported Horse Racing Nation on July 5th, 2021.
HRN continues, “Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for owner Michael L. Petersen, Gamine is 8-for-9 with earnings of $1,406,500. Six of her victories have come in graded events.”
Not all of her victories have been “clean wins,” though, have they?
Gamine certainly deserves a glowing resume, and it is highly likely she would have had a spotless one — may well have gone undefeated — if she had not been put in the unscrupulous hands of Bob Baffert.
They say hindsight is 20-20. You can make a case for that for sure. However, from where we sit Gamine never needed doping to win her races and may have won them all but for Baffert’s intrusive doping. Read on.
Gamine is the daughter of 2007 Los Alamitos Futurity champion, Into Mischief and non-stakes winner, Peggy Jane. She was purchased as a yearling for $220,000 in 2018. The following year, in 2019, she was sold for $1,800,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year Olds sale.
Gamine did not run as a two-year-old.
Gamine ran her first race the following year as a three-year-old on March 7th, 2020, at Santa Anita Park. She broke her maiden cruising home, winning easily by 6¼ length. Nothing suspicious reported there, but then it is California.
Then trouble did begin.
Oaklawn: Lidocaine positive
On May 2nd at Oaklawn Park, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Gamine raced straight to the front. However, toward the end she slowed down but still managed to win by a neck. Shortly after the race, Gamine tested positive for lidocaine.
Gamine was the first of two horses trained by Bob Baffert that tested positive at Oaklawn Park that day for the banned numbing agent — the other being the Arkansas Derby winner — Charlatan.
Baffert said in a statement that he believed both horses were “unknowingly and innocently” exposed to lidocaine by one of his stable employees. The employee had broken his pelvis and was suffering from back pain in the days leading up to May 2nd. He applied a pain relieving patch which contained small amounts of lidocaine, according to Baffert’s statement.
In a conference Bob Baffert managed to prevent his two horses from being disqualified.
Of course he did.
“The disqualifications of Charlatan and Gamine from May 2nd, 2020 wins at Oaklawn Park have been overturned, and Bob Baffert’s 15-day suspension has been waived after a two-day hearing in front of the Arkansas Racing Commission,” confirmed the Thoroughbred Daily News.
What a shame that either of these horses have ever been in the control of this loathsome man.
Ky Oaks: Betamethasone positive
Gamine showed a great dominance over other fillies in her next two races. Then came the Kentucky Oaks on September 4th.
Again Gamine went to the front — but slowed down in the stretch — and was overtaken by longshot Shedaresthedevil and the filly Swiss Skydiver. Gamine finished third. After the Kentucky Oaks, Gamine tested positive, this time for betamethasone.
The medication was administered to Gamine on August 17th by her veterinarian and on the veterinarian’s recommendation. Importantly, the veterinarian followed established medical and regulatory guidelines in administering the medication. The withdrawal guidelines published by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission recommend that the medication not be given within 14 days of a race. In this instance, as an additional layer of protection, Gamine’s veterinarian last treated her with betamethasone 18 days before the Oaks.”
Gamine was again disqualified to last place. This time Baffert did not get it overturned.
Breeders’s Cup, Keenland
Gamine won the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, which took place on November 7th at Keeneland, and was named American Champion Female Sprint Horse.
There was however controversy about the race surface.
Thoroughbredracing.com, reporting in an article entitled “Was Keeneland’s dirt ‘souped up’ for the Breeders’ Cup?’’ by Jim Mulvihill, states:
Eclipse Award-winning journalist Marcus Hersh, of Daily Racing Form, tweeted after Gamine’s performance in the BC Filly & Mare Sprint: “Broke the track record by 1.12 seconds. It’s a shame this has to be done to the track surface. We can appreciate greatness without making things so fast.”
Former Horse Racing Nation editor Brian Zipse tweeted of the Saturday races: “There were races run on dirt at five different distances yesterday at Keeneland and four track records were broken. A horse died.* Do the powers that be in racing think this is what we want?”
*Absolutely Aiden was euthanized following an injury suffered in a chain-reaction incident in the Lafayette Stakes that toppled several riders on the second day of the Breeders’ Cup. The 4-year-old colt suffered what on-track veterinarians diagnosed as a disarticulation of his left front fetlock.
On April 4th, Gamine made her first start as a 4 year old mare. She ran in the Las Flores Stakes in Santa Anita Park in preparation for the Derby City Distaff Stakes at Churchill Downs. With her jockey not doing much, she won extremely easily by 5 lengths.
On May 1st, in the Derby City Distaff Stakes at Churchill Downs she held on and won by 1+1⁄2 lengths. Her final time was 1:21:50 for 7 furlongs.
As mentioned at the top, Gamine took the lead from the start and won with 10 lengths in a time of 1:14.98 for 6+1⁄2 furlongs. She missed the race record and track record by 0.50 seconds.
It would be interesting to know what was in her system in the above races. Did she run clean or not so clean and Baffert not caught?
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Featured Image: NYRA Photo.