NY Times: Justify Should Never Have Won Triple Crown

Yesterday, The New York Times reported that Justify failed a drug test after winning a 2018 Santa Anita race – about one month before the Kentucky Derby. Assuming the Times’ information is correct, had the results been expeditiously disclosed and the matter prosecuted according to the rules in place at the time, Justify’s win would have been vacated, and he would not have qualified for the Derby. Hence, no Triple Crown. But things moved at a snail’s pace and eventually – months later – the case was dropped altogether. What’s more, in October of that year, the penalty for the drug in question – scopolamine – was significantly reduced by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), making it appear it wasn’t that bad a violation to begin with.

The above, of course, should come as no surprise, as horseracing is fundamentally incestuous: The CHRB’s chair, Chuck Winner, owns horses trained by Justify’s Bob Baffert; at least two other board members, including vice-chair Madeline Auerbach, are also still very much active in the very industry they’re tasked to regulate. And given Racing’s declining fortunes and desperate need for a media “superstar,” there was little chance the CHRB was going to take any action that would have prevented Justify from running at Churchill – in fact, the full board wasn’t even notified of the positive till after the Kentucky Derby – and zero chance it was going to act in a way that could have stripped Justify of the Triple Crown. Corrupt, to the core.

(full NY Times article)

Subscribe and Get Notified of New Posts


  1. How absolutely Disgusting and Horrifying this industry is!!!! I have stopped watching the triple crown years ago when I found out the abuses horses go through!!! Stop this immoral abuse and killing of these beautiful animals!!! People should have to go through this instead!!!!

  2. Yet, what is being done about this? If the racing industry was serious about cleaning itself up, it would take the accolades away from the trainer and Justify would have to forfeit his crown. But as per usual, they are simply rewriting history to “justify” their present.
    It’s obvious that the racing industry doesn’t care what you or I or John Q Public really thinks about them as long as there is no threat to the blood money they bring in. They are nothing but animal abusers who have learned how to legalize and profit from their cruelty.

    • At least this information came out later rather than sooner. And was made public in a big newpaper with alot of readers. I wonder what the other trainers and owners who did not win the coveted race think about this developing story. And let us not forget the handicappers and bettors who went with other athletes that day who played by the. Rules maybe.

  3. Frankly, none of this surprises me. It’s just the innocent and naive public who don’t know what is going on. The sports writer for the” New York Times ” who covers racing is Joe Drape, a full fledged apologist for the industry. He’s basically a spokesperson for the industry. The other papers, until recently: Not a peep of reporting about the suffering and deaths. But this is changing, finally, thanks in no small part to Horseracing Wrongs and people like Jo Anne Normile and Joy Aten. And others! I do have hope!

    • Yes,Martha. That is my Prayer Every day..EVERY day.These beautiful majestic innocent sentient beings deserve no less. I too often wish the people were going through what the horses endure. I do not have a good opinion of the people in this Torture large scale CARNAGE.

  4. From an ex-industry insider I can tell you that horse racing is a cesspool of corruption.
    On many occasions I was a direct recipient of these well-organized people and I won’t get into the details because you probably wouldn’t believe me, but it happened on every track including Woodbine.
    It’s the pure definition of organized crime, like the Whitey Bulger gang, who works in tandem with the government officials/politicians while destroying people’s lives.
    When people would complain to the authorities they would be complaining to the very people who were part of this gangs activities and it’s no different than people going to the racing commissions because most of them own racehorses while controlling the rules and regulations under hidden ownership.
    Only in this scenario it’s their voiceless victims, the racehorses, who pay the price every step of the way literally.
    A racehorses’s silence coupled with their obvious lack of choice and political clout attracts every single loonie, horse abuser and sadistic, demented human monster into this business.
    These organized syndicates count on the total lack of transparency, accountability, and no neutral oversight to facilitate the most egregious acts of blatant cruelty on these racehorses with zippo repercussions.
    I’ve been recording suspicious deaths with common patterns that seem to support the deliberate killing of racehorses for equine insurance money and I wouldn’t put it past these fuckers.
    The trainers are mere instruments of their criminal enterprise, but they have a choice – the racehorses don’t.
    It’s long overdue to shut this criminal enterprise down.

  5. Gina Powell, Your input is particularly valuable because you can testify as to what you saw firsthand. Here is my thought: If the veterinarians, who seem to be willing to write out any prescription or provide any drug so requested by the trainer or owner (this I heard somewhere recently, can’t recall the source, correct me if I am wrong), are basically violating the tenants of veterinary medicine, why do state licensing boards allow them to still practice medicine? I just don’t understand this at all. Think of it: If they refused to dispense drugs or inject and prescribe harmful drugs, such as Lasix, and other drugs, wouldn’t this make a big difference? If they reported abuses, speaking as mandatory reporters, being veterinarians, of abuse they saw, wouldn’t that make so much difference? Even if they don’t provide all of the drugs used on the horses, they surely know the symptoms of a horse being drugged. If they know that tongue ties are not just a torment for the horse, but also dangerous, as vets, are they not legally obligated to report such abuse? Whipping? The heavy, painful bits? Why are they not reporting to boards the deleterious effects on horses being kept in social isolation, confined to a stall for 23 hours a day? These are examples of animal abuse and physically and emotionally harmful to horses. Are they not? Don’t these vets have any responsibility for the standard of care of horses, as practiced by their associates (owners and trainers)? I don’t mean that racing is acceptable, ever, in ANY form, since “speed kills”, and I know that any animal forced to run not of their own volition is at risk of injury, but why are not veterinarians complicit in these abuses being reported to the licensing boards? Here is the hippocratic oath as presented by the American Veterinary Medical Association:

    ” Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

    I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

    I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence. “

  6. Several years ago, I was on the phone with a racing supporter and she was referencing some of the reprehensible characters in this vile industry. She personally knew Bob Baffert and stated that he would inject Draino in a horse’s veins if it meant winning a race. I believed her then and I believe her now.

    There was a 37 year drought between Affirmed winning the Triple Crown and American Pharoah winning it in 2015 yet three years later Baffert wins it again in 2018 with Justify. Now, is it possible that Baffert is a one in a million trainer who knows how to condition a horse to race at the upper levels? Of course it is, but, in my opinion, it isn’t probable unless there was some drugging going on.

    About six years ago, Baffert had seven horses suddenly die in his barn due to a thyroid med being administered to them. The horses had NOT been diagnosed with a thyroid problem but were given the meds just “because.” I find that to be sickening and, if we weren’t talking about the vile horseracing industry, I would be shocked, as well. Where did good ole Baffert get the meds he administered to horses that didn’t even need them? I would suspect he got them from vets who were as complicit in that debacle as he was. This type of behavior from those who supposedly love the horses will NOT end until racing ends.

  7. Absolutely disgusting!!! Take the title away and all the scumbags, crooks, trainers and bettors will wake up. This is 2019 and not acceptable anymore. Too all who stood up for the rights of these majestic animals, may God richly bless you to continue to keep fighting, you are these racehorses voices, their hero’s!! And you are all much appreciated for your hard work, care and great hearts…ALWAYS

    • Bravo!!!! M Thornton, What a beautiful inspiring eloquent proclamation. All of you ladies are so inspirational and that’s a good thing,because this evil torture is hard to psychologically cope with. You all are Angels.

      • Thank you Bonnie! Yes, this is psychologically hard to cope with. Reading every horror story for every racehorse that succumbs to the evil torture placed on them, can make everyone of us humans with great hearts literally sick. But by the love of God we must stay strong and keep fighting to bring horseracing to an end, Amen!! Marjorie

  8. Oh, the true and tried method of the cheaters from Baffert to Pletcher to Asmussen on previous doping positives:
    “environmental contamination.”
    As a former CHRB steward I saw stacks of what appeared to be morphine positives in a tray that hadn’t been filed yet, which was usually kept under lock and key and controlled by 2 “security” personnel.
    I came across it innocently while placing some other papers in that tray while the security personnel had stepped out of the office.
    Then I saw the flurry of responses from Baffert’s attorneys that appeared to say something like this:
    The morphine positives don’t exceed the minimal amount permitted at the time of drug testing and obviously indicates “environmental contamination.”
    It’s not a matter for the commission to pursue at this point then a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo that I have no idea what it means.
    It all happened so fast, I was reading this so fast and I had no time to photocopy so perhaps I got it wrong, but I was abruptly interrupted and told not to read things that have not been filed under lock and key yet.
    When I questioned this and asked why this wasn’t being pursued I was told that it had the potential to reimburse millions in wagering profits or something like that which could be why they never pursued this.
    After all, they had a Triple Crown potential on their hands, which results in billions in wagering profits.
    They saw Baffert as a racehorse hero, not as a cheater whose integrity is questionable, but so is the entire CHRB and the entire doping system for horse racing not just in the state of California.
    It’s an antiquated process that varies from state to state, a discombobulated mess, controlled by commission personnel that probably owns racehorses – an entire system of questionable ethics with alleged cheaters backed up by attorneys who take full advantage of the holes, the process, and the entire system.
    People knowingly and willingly support this so they are the stupid ones, but they have a choice, the racehorses don’t and they are the ones paying the price.they are their voiceless victims, their disposable gambling chips and that’s the sad truth.

  9. “Environmental contamination.”
    Isn’t it funny how all the other trainers in the stable area haven’t gotten morphine positives and/or other doping positives despite the fact they are using the same materials and/or feed not to mention the fact that they are all in close proximity to each other.
    Geez, do you think something is up here?
    Isn’t it funny when I suggested that we keep a sample of certain racehorses manes for future testing or for court appearances that I was instantly dismissed?
    Morphine and many other drugs can be detected in a racehorse’s tail or mane for up to 5 years evidently.
    Doesn’t it seem rather relevant that many of BB’s racehorses tend to disappear off the radar or drop dead in the dirt after they’ve made money and are no longer performing?
    The dude is seriously unrepresented in the claiming ranks like most trainers, but these trainers don’t like their stats messed up do they?
    No matter what you think or feel it’s the racehorse’s who are their voiceless victims and to continue to defend and support this vile business makes you vile – 100%.

  10. There was an article about how the truth of Justify’s drug test is going to bring down horse racing, though the author did state that horse racing will never completely die out because there’s too much money involved. I have to wonder if this is just another smoke screen to get people focused on one trainer again instead of the corruption of horse racing as a whole. It’s obvious the racing industry has no plans to do anything meaningful about this, because honestly, how could they? This same thing goes on with every horse in every stable, and the only reason this is such a headline is because Justify won the Triple Crown. Let him keep the title; he is the perfect embodiment of the corruption that defines the racing industry.

    • Maybe this revelation will work like the death totals at Santa Anita to wake people up that do not follow racing per say. This Justify story is making waves in the papers and aol.

  11. I’ve often commented on how the rules and regulations apply to some trainers while other trainers are immune to them after repeated offences.
    Take for example California-based “trainer” John Martin who racehorses tested positive for, get this, Alzheimer’s drugs – can you imagine that?
    This is what we know about so one can only imagine what these racehorse abusers are shoving into racehorses in the corner cobwebs of their stalls, with no scrutiny, and no disclosure of doping records.
    The poor racehorses.
    Anyways, he was swiftly brought to justice, as he should be, and given a 1 year suspension and a $20,000 fine.
    True to industry form they “stayed” 6 months of the suspension if he doesn’t do anything wrong.
    Again, this business and the pro-horse racing entities on the board take care of the dopers and abusers especially if they are training for them.
    Anyways, contrast this to Bob Baffert with multiple drug positives, multiple doping scandals whose investigations led to nowhere (including 7 racehorses dying from thyroid medication) multiple racehorses dropping dead under his care, custody and control and now the most blatant example when Justify’s positive test was covered-up.
    Bob Baffert is STILL TRAINING, RUNNING, AND WINNING races in California.
    This example alone clearly shows a system that is not consistent, favors certain trainers because they train for members of the racing commissions and/or wagering outlets with racing commissions who cover-up for certain trainers usually the ones training for them.
    It goes on and on and anybody who invests in this business has a piece of their brain missing not to mention void of any morals towards living beings.
    Again, what these poor racehorses are subjected to on a daily basis is blatant animal cruelty.
    Stop supporting this, stop placing $2 bets, write your politicians, do something because this must end.

Comments are closed.