Belmont Stakes Contender Charlatan Reportedly Fails Drug Test

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2020

HOT SPRINGS, AR - MAY 02:  Jockey Martin Garcia rides #1 Charlatan to the lead during the 84th running of The Arkansas Derby Grade 1 at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort on Derby Day during the Covid-19 Pandemic on May 2, 2020 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Belmont Stakes contender and undefeated Charlatan was reportedly one of two horses trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert that tested positive for a banned substance.  

Joe Drape of the New York Times reported the news, noting Charlatan and his stablemate Gamine tested positive for lidocaine at a meet at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. Charlatan won a division of the Arkansas Derby on May 2 and figured to challenge for another victory at the Belmont Stakes.

Gamine also won a race at Oaklawn Park on May 2.

The Associated Press (h/t ESPN) shared Baffert's written statement:

"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. 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."

Drape noted Baffert requested a second test on the samples that reportedly revealed lidocaine, which is classified as a Class 2 drug by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

As a result, Charlatan may be disqualified from the Arkansas Derby race he won, and the team would have to forfeit the $300,000 purse. Drape said it remains "unclear" if this positive test will impact the colt's eligibility for the Belmont Stakes, which kicks off the Triple Crown season this year given the changes to the schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Charlatan sits in fourth place on the qualifying-points list for the Kentucky Derby, which was rescheduled for Sept. 5.