12up Logo12up Logo

2018 Triple Crown Winner Justify Failed Drug Test a Month Before Kentucky Derby and Got Away With It

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 04:  The field breaks from the gate at the start of the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 04, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

One of the two horses to win the Triple Crown since 1978 may not have deserved that title after all, according to the New York Times.

The recent report claims that Justify, the horse that won the Triple Crown in 2018, failed a drug test before winning the three races necessary for the coveted title.

Instead of reporting the violation, which occurred just ahead of the Santa Anita Derby in which Justify won and qualified for the Kentucky Derby, regulators swept it under the rug until it was too late to matter.

Typically, when a horse fails a drug test, it is subject to immediate disqualification. That obviously did not happen, and instead Justify went on to win the Triple Crown and had his breeding rights sold for $60 million by trainer Bob Baffert.

Instead of disqualifying the horse, Baffert and the California Horse Racing Board took their time confirming the results in order to turn a massive profit. The board even went so far as to soften the punishment for testing positive of that specific drug in the future to a fine and possible suspension.

It's clear that Justify never should have gotten the chance to race for the Triple Crown, but as long as someone's making a profit of him, policies don't seem to matter.