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Baffert suspended

Two of US training legend's horses fail drug test

American racing legend Bob Baffert has been suspended for 15 days by racing officials in Arkansas, after two of his horses failed drug tests after running at Oaklawn Park on May 2.

The ban - the minimum penalty that the racing board could hand a trainer found guilty of the infraction - will be honoured in all jurisdictions, so Baffert would not be able to run in California or other states from Aug 1 to15.

Baffert was not present when Charlatan won the Arkansas Derby and Gamine won an allowance race at Oaklawn.

Both tested positive for lidocaine, a pain reliever that is legal in certain amounts. Gamine had 185 picograms in her system and Charlatan had 46. The legal amount is 20 picograms.

Baffert, who guided American Pharoah and Justify to Triple Crown glory, said that an employee who was with the horses in Arkansas had inadvertently introduced lidocaine to the animals, after applying a pain relief patch to his own back and transferring some medication when handling the horses.

Charlatan has since suffered an injury that has ruled him out of the Kentucky Derby, which has been rescheduled for Sept 5, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Filly Gamine has since won the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park and could race against colts in the Kentucky Derby.

A lawyer for Baffert told they will appeal the stewards' decision as a case of environmental contamination that did not impact the running of the race. - AFP