(Edited - content and video added.)
(Edited x2 - the different effects of scopolamine on humans versus horses.)
My apologies - I had said that Baffert was reinstated three weeks ago and his Arkansas Derby/Oaklawn wins were given back to him. His appeal began three weeks ago, yes - but Baffert's Arkansas Derby wins were officially reinstated not even two weeks ago, on April 21st
Scopolamine is an anti-cholinergic, a prescription-only drug. It is typically administered via a transdermal patch in humans, although there are other formulations and routes of administration such as injection.
Rest assured, those specific veterinary reasons are NOT because of "a big upcoming race" - in fact, it's usually used for post-anesthesia care after surgery to prevent colic, as well as testing purposes while being monitored for suspected health reasons, on horses who are NOT currently competing.
Why would a competitor want to spike Justify's food with an actual performance enhancer to make them win? lol.
Of course, the trainer could argue, "They wanted my horse to test positive to be disqualified."
Okay, but let's examine the likelihood of that, considering the gambling risk already involved with horse-racing.
Guide: "Yes, many times. In fact, just a party the other night, celebrating American Pharoah studding here first"
Me: "We didn't have a very positive personal experience, but maybe he was just stressed that day. What's he like on a regular basis?"
Guide: (Pause) "Well, he's ... Bob Baffert" (sly smile).
Problem #1 - The testing is not standardized nationally. The illegal drugs vary according to state racing-commission rules, rather than the national racing commission (though some drugs are nationally illegal, like performance-enhancers.)Problem #2 - There is no accredited, centralized lab used - thus, each track can use whatever lab tests and labs they choose, and the lab-test results, taken before a race, are not back until at least 2 weeks after races are completed, sometimes 6 weeks.This makes it difficult for either state or national racing commissions to do further lab testing, because the drugs are likely out of their system by then.Problem #3, and the biggest problem IMO - There's also no standardized deadline for state horse-racing commissions to report the lab results except "prior to subsequent races" - thus, the results can be held even up until the day of a subsequent race.
"The Arkansas Racing Commission's seven members unanimously voted to reduce the significance of Baffert's penalties.
Baffert smiled, thanked the hearing's participants and rushed from the conference room used for the hearings in Oaklawn's new hotel. He pointed toward his attorneys.
"Talk to these men," Baffert said. "I have a flight to catch."
Baffert was represented by attorneys Craig Robertson of Lexington, Ky., and Steve Quattlebaum of Little Rock. Owners of Charlatan were represented by attorney Justin Allen of Sheridan."
"Well, it wasn't a performance enhancer, this time, the drug found in Arkansas was just over-the-counter, topical lidocaine to treat sore spots."
"So then why is lidocaine illegal? Aren't they treating the horse's sore spots in empathy? Athletes use lidocaine patches all the time, they do that before games so they can play."