Scopolamine – the drug Justify tested positive for?


The Racing Medication & Testing Consortium provided further insight this week into scopolamine, the regulated substance that reportedly triggered a failed post-race drug test for 2018 Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Justify before his Triple Crown run.

The RMTC, which domestically strives to develop and promote uniform rules for racing, and is chaired by NTRA President & CEO Alex Waldrop noted scopolamine is classified as a 4/C medication under the model rules of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

The rating system's numeric scale (1-5) measures a substances' pharmacologic effect with 1 being the “greatest threat to the integrity of the competition” and 5 the lowest. The lettered scale (A-D) is the penalty designation with A being the most severe and D the least severe.

Class 4 is for “primarily therapeutic medications routinely used in racehorses. These may influence performance, but generally have a more limited ability to do so,” according to the ARCI model rules. Often with medications in this category, the amount found in a horse's system must be below a certain threshold because of the potential to enhance performance with greater doses.

According to the RMTC, scopolamine (known as hyoscine) is “conventionally” prescribed to humans to prevent motion sickness and is administered either by tablet or transdermal patch.

Separately this week, ARCI called for the California Horse Racing Board in this instance “to release to the public as much information about why the recommended penalty mitigation was justified in order to lay to rest questions concerning this matter and to reinforce public confidence in its actions.”

"I was confident that Mr. Baffert would ultimately prevail if the CHRB pursued the matter," Robertson said. "This left the CHRB with two choices -- either pursue a frivolous case that had no merit at great taxpayer expense, or exercise reason and common sense and decide to take no further action.

"The CHRB made the wise decision and should be commended, instead of attacked, for doing so."

CHRB officials have said other horses from barns other than Baffert's tested positive for scopolamine around the same time, and that those cases were also dismissed due to the belief they were caused by environmental contamination from jimsonweed.


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