Two horses trained by Bob Baffert who raced at the Oaklawn Park spring meet in Hot Springs, Arkansas, have tested positive for banned substances, according to a report in the Louisville Courier-Journal on Tuesday.
Baffert won nine races at the meet, including both divisions of the Arkansas Derby on May 2, with Nadal and Charlatan, two undefeated colts for which there are high hopes as the revamped Triple Crown series begins on June 20 with the Belmont Stakes. The Arkansas Derby offers qualifying points for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby.
Baffert issued a prepared statement in response to the report:
“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. 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.”
Horsemen have some recourse after an initial positive overage, by requesting a split sample be sent to a lab for a second opinion. That second testing process
usually takes 2-3 weeks.
The California-based Baffert, who was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2009, won the Triple Crown in 2015 with American Pharoah and in 2018 with Justify. His horse McKinzie won the Whitney at Saratoga Race Course last summer, and Baffert has won the Travers three times, with Point Given (2001), Arrogate (2016) and West Coast (2017).