The Sport of Footnotes

First, there was this year’s Kentucky Derby with the disqualification. Country House, a 65-1 odds horse, won the Derby after Maximum Security was disqualified because of a lane foul. Now we learn that Justify, the 2018 Triple Crown winner, tested positive for for scopolamine, a banned substance that can enhance performance. The drug can clear the airway and optimize the heart rate. However, the trainer of Justify, Bob Baffert, and owner said that scopolamine can be found in jimsyn weed, which can grow in the wild where dung is found and hay and straw are produced. Horses eat hay and straw! Jimsyn weed gets mixed in and straight to the horse’s mouth. “Environmental contamination” is a defense when horses test positive. The Barometer is stunned that Lance Armstrong did not think of this one.

The failed drug test was conducted on April 7, 2018. By the time the test results were returned, it was April 18, 2018, two weeks before the Derby.The amount found was 300 nanograms per milliliter, which was excessive. However, in fairness, it seems that all of the horses tested positive for scopolamine, just not at the Justify level. At the time of the test, Justify was undefeated and just had one more race prior to the Derby (Santa Anita) to qualify. Justify qualified, but let’s just add that the pony was lucky to make it alive out of that facility. They lost 30 horses in six months there.

At any rate, an investigation into an environmental defense takes two months. The California Horse Racing Board had five to eight days to get such an investigation done. Bob Baffert, Justify’s trainer was notified on April 28, 2018 of the positive test, as is provided under the regulations, he asked that another sample from the test be sent to an approved independent lab. The sample was sent to an independent lab on May 1, and the results were confirmed on May 8. The Kentucky Derby was on May 5, 2018, a race Justify won.

No one ever filed a complaint with the California Horse Racing Board, so there was never a hearing. Rick Baedeker, the executive director of the Board, took the case directly to the commissioners of the Board. In a private executive session (something that had never been done before), the Board voted unanimously not to proceed with the case against Bob Baffert. In addition, The Board changed the penalty for a finding of scopolamine from disqualification and forfeiture of the purse to a fine and suspension.

The interesting thing about the Board is that it is made up of folks who own horses and employ Baffert as their trainer. The Board members regulate the jockeys and trainers that they employ. When the regulators are the regulees, there is a bit of a conflict. Sounds like rigorous oversight is not the game. Baffert was investigated in 2013 when seven horses he was training died within a 16-month period. The horses had been given a thyroid hormone without a diagnosis of any thyroid problems. Baffert said that he gave the horses the drug to build them up. The drug can cause weight loss. No action was taken against Baffert then. The Board says that it exercised reason and common sense and saved the taxpayers money by not pursuing the case.

Justify is currently in Australia, doing study things for $450,000 per day. Not bad work if you can get it. No word on jimsyn weed intake.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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