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Arkansas Racing Commission suspends Bob Baffert for 15 days.


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Baffert-trained Arkansas Derby winner, Charlatan, tested positive for the anesthetic lidocaine in post-race testing. Lidocaine can act as a masking agent by reacting with the chemicals in blood testing kits to conceal the presence of other banned substances in a horse's system. Baffert had another horse, Gamine, that won a separate race at Arkansas' Oaklawn Park the same day as the Derby.

Oaklawn Park stewards disqualified both horses and revoked the purse-earnings for both. They sent their decision to the Arkansas Racing Commission on July 14th and the Racing Commission announced Baffert's suspension on July 15th. His suspension is currently set to begin on August 1st.

Baffert's camp is denying any wrongdoing, claiming a stable employee who had handled both horses was personally wearing a lidocaine patch for a back injury and had unknowingly exposed both horses during his contact with them during the course of the day. They are also claiming that the trace amounts of lidocaine found in both horses' bloodstreams was not substantial enough to have any impact on the outcome of the race. Baffert's legal representatives are an appeal of the decision.

The Kentucky Derby is currently set for September 5th.  Charlatan had been considered one of the likely contenders as a Kentucky Derby hopeful, but Baffert announced on June 6th that the horse would not be competing in the Belmont Stakes or the Kentucky Derby due to a minor ankle issue.

https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/242346/baffert-suspended-horses-dqd-after-drug-positives

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