For the second time in 2020, a horse that Bob Baffert has trained returned a positive drug test following a race they participated in. This is the third time a horse in Baffert's stable had a positive test over the span of the last six months.
The horse in question is a filly named Gamine, who finished third place in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on Sept. 4. The drug in question was betamethasone, which Craig Robertson, Baffert's attorney, told the Associated Press is "a legal, commonly used anti-inflammatory medication."
Per the rules for the state of Kentucky, he's technically right. The nuances of the rules are what cause problems, however. Betamethasone is a Class C drug that, while legal as a therapeutic, has a required 14-day withdrawal time, meaning that any detection of it is considered a violation.
Robertson claims that this drug was given to Gamine on Aug. 17, which was 18 days prior to race where the filly got dinged.
"Trainers and veterinarians must be able to rely on guidelines given them by racing officials," Robertson told the AP. "If they are told by regulators that a medication will clear a horse's system in 14 days, they must be able to rely on that information."
He then argued that the current thresholds are way too low -- Kentucky's is zero picograms of betamethasone, which was lowered from 10 picograms in August -- because the total that was found in Gamine, 27 picograms, is too small to "affect a thousand pound animal."
"The regulations governing racing must be ones that are related to pharmacology in a horse as opposed to how sensitive labs can test," he added.
This is the second time that Gamine has returned a positive test after a race this year. The first one came after she won at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas back in May, where she tested positive for lidocaine, which was confirmed with a split-sample test -- per Robertson, that was blamed on environmental contamination from an assistant trainer's pain patch. Between the two positive tests, the filly won the Acorn Stakes at Belmont and the Test Stakes at Saratoga.