The California Horse Racing Board voted Jan. 21 during a closed, executive session to let the last year's stewards' decision stand and leave Justify the winner of the 2018 Santa Anita Derby (G1), according to a release from the CHRB.
After a hearing on Oct. 29, the board of stewards at Santa Anita Park issued a statement of decision on Dec. 9 to dismiss complaints filed by the current CHRB in the combined cases of the horses Justify and Hoppertunity , two Bob Baffert trainees who had scopolamine detected in post-race samples following graded stakes victories in 2018. CHRB filed the complaint as part of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by Mick Ruis, owner of Santa Anita Derby runner-up Bolt d'Oro during his racing career.
Justify later won the 2018 Triple Crown.
The initial dismissal by the CHRB in 2018 followed recommendations from its executive director, Rick Baedeker, and equine medical director, Dr. Rick Arthur, to not call positives because the test results were deemed to have been caused by contamination linked to jimson weed.
Meeting during the executive portion of its meeting Thursday—which was not open to the public or the media, standard practice in matters involving litigation—the seven commissioners considered dual requests from Ruis to either appeal that decision by the stewards or overturn it outright. The commissioners rejected both requests.