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Horse racing-Local weed caused Justify’s positive drug test – Baffert

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Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on Thursday denied intentionally administering the banned drug scopolamine to Triple Crown-winning horse Justify in 2018, saying a positive test had been a result of "environmental contamination."

FILE PHOTO: Jockey Mike Smith smiles as he rides Justify across the finish line to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, U.S., June 9, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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REUTERS: Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on Thursday denied intentionally administering the banned drug scopolamine to Triple Crown-winning horse Justify in 2018, saying a positive test had been a result of "environmental contamination."

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Justify had tested positive to the substance after winning the Santa Anita Derby in California, less than a month before the start of the Triple Crown.

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"I unequivocally reject any implication that Scopolamine was ever intentionally administered to Justify, or any of my horses," Baffert wrote on Twitter.

"Test results indicating trace amounts of the drug were undoubtedly the result of environmental contamination caused by the presence of Jimson Weed in feed, a naturally growing substance in areas where hay and straw are produced in California.

"In addition, I had no input into, or influence on, the decisions made by the California Horse Racing Board."

Baffert said Justify had passed drug tests at each of the Triple Crown races that the horse had won – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes in Maryland an

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