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If a crack appears in a damn wall and it’s not fixed, it grows and grows until it bursts open and the water inside comes cascading out at full pelt.

That appears to be what’s happening to leading US trainer Bob Baffert following yet another positive test from one of his horses…..the second in three days.

This one’s name is MERNEITH (American Pharoah-Flattermewithkisses) and once again Baffert’s attorney, Craig Robertson, went into damage control….blaming someone else.

Robertson, said yesterday that he will present evidence during the hearing tracing the positive to a groom’s use of two cough suppressants at the time the positive was detected. He said the groom had tested positive for COVID-19, and that after the groom returned to work at the barn, he was taking both DayQuil and NyQuil, which each contain dextromethorphan.

“No one would ever intentionally give a cough suppressant to a horse,” Robertson said.

A couple of things of ambiguity there.

Did the alleged groom work while positive to Covid-19?

Does Robertson actually believe, yet again, that Nyquil residue, if any, made its way into the feed of the horse after the groom took it the night before?

Robertson still has the results of the second sample taken from Baffert’s Gr 1 filly GAMINE (Into Mischief-Peggy Jane) to come back after the first sample returned a positive last week.

And yet the champion trainer is allowed to continue preparing horses.

We reported here last week re the positive for Gamine that her test followed the recent positive found in Baffert’s unbeaten star CHARLATAN (Speightstown-Authenticity), again a groom was blamed and of course the JUSTIFY (Scat daddy-Stage Magic) testing issue still lingers over his head.

Earlier this year Gamine returned yet another positive to lidocaine, giving her two positives to two different drugs from two races, and again a groom was blamed.

And yet the champion trainer is allowed to continue preparing horses.

This latest result should a second sample prove positive also for the horse Merneith, does carry a suspension if after the 12 November hearing, Baffert is found guilty of sending the horse to the races with a banned drug in its system.

The drug, dextrorphan, is on the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) list of banned drugs under the Class B lists which carries an automatic 30-days suspension for the trainer.

The penalty can be increased to a maximum of 60 days “in the presence of aggravating factors”….whatever that means.

“Unfortunately, this is a bad string for” Baffert, Robertson the attorney said. “But [the dextrorphan] positive is another case of contamination we believe.”

The question now for Aussie readers must be asked: would our racing chiefs allow a trainer to remain working if a continuous pattern of systemic breaches of drug use, occurred?

I doubt it.

 
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