Gamine, Bob Baffert-Trained Filly, Reportedly Failed Drug Test After Kentucky Oaks

Posted on: October 22, 2020, 08:13h. 

Last updated on: October 23, 2020, 11:13h.

Gamine, a stakes-winning thoroughbred trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, reportedly tested positive for a banned substance after her third-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks. The New York Times reported the story Thursday evening, citing anonymous sources. If true, it would mark the second time the 3-year-old filly failed a drug test within a four-month span.

Baffert Gamine
Gamine, seen at the front of the pack in this shot from the Kentucky Oaks, reportedly failed a drug test, according to The New York Times. If true, it would be the second time this year the Bob Baffert-trained filly was found to race with a banned substance. (Image: NBC Sports)

It would also mark the 28th drug violation across all US racing jurisdictions by the trainer who has more than 3,000 career wins, including six Kentucky Derby trophies, seven Preakness Stakes victories, and two Triple Crown horses.

The Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet tweeted earlier Thursday that one sample from the Grade I stakes race for fillies, which was run on Sept. 4 at Churchill Downs, came back for a “Class C medication.”

The cabinet reported there were no positive cases from the Derby, which took place the following day. The Baffert-trained colt Authentic won that race, allowing the trainer to match Ben A. Jones’ record for six Derby wins.

In May, the filly and another Baffert horse tested positive for traces of lidocaine after winning races Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. The other horse was Charlatan, then a top Derby prospect, who won a leg of the Arkansas Derby. Both horses were disqualified and Baffert received a 15-day suspension.

A year ago, the Times reported that Justify, Baffert’s 2018 Triple Crown winner, tested positive after winning the Santa Anita Derby, a Kentucky Derby prep race that guaranteed the horse’s entry into the Run for the Roses. The California Horse Racing Board determined that the result was because of an accidental contamination of scopolamine in the feed for several horses.

The matter’s not settled, though. According to The Los Angeles Times, a court case set to start next week could lead to Justify’s disqualification and the loss of the $600,000 purse given to his connections.

The New York Times reported neither Baffert nor his attorney responded to messages seeking comment.

PETA VP Wants Severe Penalty if Baffert Guilty

Based on information from the Association of Racing Commissioners International, a third “Class C” violation, which Baffert would face if the report is correct and test results confirmed, carries a minimum fine of $2,500 and a minimum 30-day suspension.

However, an executive from animal welfare group PETA said in a statement to Thursday night the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) should consider a more stringent penalty.

Twenty-eight medication violations represent 25 chances that Bob Baffert never should have been given to harm horses,” PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo said. “PETA advocates for automatic license revocation after three drug violations. If the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission finds that Gamine was the victim of a medication abuse, it should take swift action to ensure Baffert never races in Kentucky again. The welfare of the horses, not the fame of the trainer, must be the first consideration.”

The week of the Kentucky Derby, PETA placed advertisements in several Kentucky news websites and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The organization urged bettors whose horses lost in the Derby to hold their tickets in case a horse that finished in the money tested positive. The ad campaign came after PETA helped a harness racing bettor secure a $20,000 settlement after claiming a doped horse that won a race prevented him from winning more than $30,000.

Favored Gamine Lost Oaks, Still Finished in the Money

Gamine was the heavy favorite in the Oaks last month after posting three convincing victories leading up to the race. However, in the Oaks, she faded down the stretch after leading for most of the race. She still finished third.

If the KHRC disqualifies Gamine, her owners stand to lose the $120,000 in purse money. However, Churchill Downs will not adjust any of the payouts to bettors from the race, which was deemed official moments after it ended.

Gamine paid $2.40 to show. She was also a part of winning 50-cent trifecta, 10-cent superfecta, and $1 super high five tickets that paid $58.40, $27.93, and $4,469.60 respectively.

Shedaresthedevil, a 15-1 longshot, pulled off the upset win in the Oaks, with Swiss Skydiver, who went on to beat the colts in the Preakness earlier this month, finishing second. The horses directly behind Gamine were Speech, who went off at 5-1, Tempers Rising, who had 46-1 odds, and Hopeful Growth, a filly with 37-1 odds.

In all, $10 million was bet on the Oaks this year, according to Churchill Downs figures.

Doping a Major Issue in Horse Racing

Drug testing has become a major issue in horse racing over the last couple of years, as the sport has faced criticism about the safety of the animals raced for sport. A month ago, the US House of Representatives passed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which would nationalize racing safety standards and set up a drug-testing program under the auspices of the US Anti-Doping Agency.

Earlier this year, federal authorities charged more than two dozen individuals involved in horse and harness racing as part of an alleged doping scheme. Among those charged was thoroughbred trainer Jason Servis, who trained Maximum Security – the horse disqualified from winning the 2019 Kentucky Derby after stewards ruled he interfered with other horses.

Prosecutors claim Servis had the graded stakes champion colt injected with a performance-enhancing drug.

After the indictment, Gary and Mary West, Maximum Security’s owners, moved their colt out of Servis’ stable and into Baffert’s.