Trainer Bob Baffert issued a statement denying giving a banned substance to Triple Crown winner Justify, a day after the New York Times reported the horse failed a drug test before the historic run in 2018.

The newspaper said Justify tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug scopolamine following the Santa Anita Derby on April 7, 2018, less than a month before the Kentucky Derby.

Baffert said Thursday in his statement that Justify could have gotten the drug in his system through his food.

“I unequivocally reject any implication that Scopolamine was ever intentionally administered to Justify, or any of my horses,” Baffert said.

The California Horse Racing Board notified Baffert of the positive test nine days before the Kentucky Derby, and he requested a second analysis from an independent lab. Those results weren’t available until after Justify’s Kentucky Derby win.

Under horse racing rules in place at the time, Justify could have been disqualified.

The California board eventually ruled that Justify could have tested positive because of contaminated food and dropped the case.

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