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Kafwain Drug Test Is Positive

Times Staff Writer

The Louisiana State Racing Commission has disqualified Kafwain, the second-place finisher in the Louisiana Derby, after a post-race urine test was positive for an illegal drug.

The commission announced Friday that Kafwain, one of the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby, tested positive for clenbuterol, a brochodilator used to improve horses’ breathing. The threshold in Louisiana for clenbuterol is 10 nanograms per milliliter of urine, and Kafwain’s reading, according to a commission spokesman, was 16.3.

The Thoroughbred Corp., which has raced Kafwain since buying him at auction last year for $720,000, forfeits the $150,000 second-place purse from the $750,000 Fair Grounds race. Thoroughbred Corp. won last year’s Derby with the Bob Baffert-trained War Emblem.

Baffert, who also trains Kafwain, was fined $1,000 in Louisiana. He said the ruling on Kafwain would not be appealed and he will go ahead with his plan to run the colt in the Santa Anita Derby a week from today. Baffert, who has won the Kentucky Derby three times in the last six years, also plans to run Domestic Dispute and Indian Express in the Santa Anita Derby.

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Kafwain, the second choice in the Louisiana Derby, finished second behind the longshot Peace Rules. Kafwain also finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Hollywood Futurity late last year, but he’s won two stakes at Santa Anita, the Norfolk as a 2-year-old and the San Vicente five weeks before the Louisiana Derby. Overall, Kafwain has four wins in 10 starts and an adjusted purse total of $625,848.

Baffert said if he appealed the Kafwain ruling, the colt would not have been able to run until the appeal had been adjudicated, which would have caused the horse to miss the Santa Anita Derby.

“We did everything we could to comply with the rules,” Baffert said in a statement released by Santa Anita. “We cut off [treatment with clenbuterol] a week [before the race], as our records show. I have no idea what tests Louisiana does or doesn’t do, or how much money they spend on testing compared with California, New York and other states where I race. We’ll take our lumps on this, but we look forward to the day when the sport has uniform medication rules and uniform testing in every state.”

By California standards, Kafwain would have had more than three times the legal limit on clenbuterol. California, where Baffert stables most of his horses, didn’t legalize racing horses on clenbuterol until last year, when the threshold was set at five nanograms.

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It is not likely that the loss of the Louisiana Derby purse will affect Kafwain’s Kentucky Derby eligibility.

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Xtra Heat, the U.S. mare who would have been favored, was scratched from today’s $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen Stakes in the United Arab Emirates. Xtra Heat apparently sprained her left front ankle in a stall accident.


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