LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The New York Times reported Wednesday that Justify — the horse that won the 2018 Triple Crown — failed a drug test after the Santa Anita Derby, and the California Horse Racing Board kept the test result secret.
Back in April of 2018, Justify won the Santa Anita Derby, and legendary trainer Bob Baffert exulted in victory.
“I think this horse, what he did today, shows us his natural talent,” Baffert said after the win. “He’s so talented.”
Three races later, Justify would go onto win racing’s most coveted title — the Triple Crown.
But in the bombshell report, the New York Times alleged that Justify might not have been eligible to compete in the Triple Crown. According to the Times, Justify carried a secret — the horse had failed a drug test after the Santa Anita Derby. If the rules were strictly followed, Justify would have been banned from the Kentucky Derby.
The Times reported that instead of publicly reporting the failed test — which is standard procedure — the California Horse Racing Board kept the test result a secret and later dropped the investigation.
Reaction to the story has been swift with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issuing a statement that read in part:
“This nasty cover-up has cheated the betting public and the true winners of the Santa Anita and Kentucky derbies. (Bob) Baffert should be suspended and held accountable, and Justify should be disqualified from the Triple Crown victory.”
On Wednesday night, the California Horse Racing Board released a brief statement that said the board was committed to the integrity of horse racing in the state and would issue further comment on the story in the coming days.
It was also reported that Baffert would address the allegations Thursday.