US RACING: UPDATE – Bob Baffert replies to positive tests from Arkansas Derby

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Bob Baffert

In response to a report Tuesday that two of his Arkansas Derby day runners were flagged for positive tests, trainer Bob Baffert issued a statement to Horse Racing Nation saying he’s “extremely disappointed” word leaked before state officials issued a ruling.

Paulick Report first broke news, via an Arkansas Racing Commission representative, that not all samples from Arkansas Derby day at Oaklawn Park had cleared.

Bernie Hettel, Arkansas’ state steward, confirmed with Horse Racing Nation that two horses on the card tested positive for a banned substance, and that split samples would head to a referee lab at their trainers’ choosing before a ruling could be made.

Neither initial report connected Baffert to the tests, with Hettel saying he’s neither allowed to identify the horses nor the substance in question by law until the split samples were analyzed.

However, The Courier-Journal‘s Tim Sullivan reported, later citing an anonymous source, that the positives were from Baffert trainees. The barn sent out Charlatan and Nadal to win split divisions of the Arkansas Derby (G1) as well as Gamine in a first-level allowance on the May 2 undercard.

“The rules of the Arkansas Racing Commission mandate confidentiality concerning any investigation into an alleged rule violation until there is a written decision of the Stewards,” Baffert’s statement reads. “I am extremely disappointed that, in this instance, the Commission has not followed its own rules on confidentiality.

“I am hoping for an expedited investigation and look forward to being able to speak soon about any written decision of the Stewards, if and when it becomes necessary and I’m allowed to under the Commission’s confidentiality rules.”