Report: Bolt d'Oro owner thinks Justify news 'warrants' lawsuit

September 12, 2019 06:08pm

Mick Ruis, owner and the former trainer of Bolt d’Oro, second in the 2018 Santa Anita Derby (G1), told Louisville, Ky., Courier-Journal on Thursday he’s considering legal options after the New York Times revealed Justify failed a post-race drug test following his victory over Ruis’ horse.

The Times’ Joe Drape reported that the substance scopolamine was found in Justify’s system above the allowed limit, and that the California Horse Racing Board didn’t disqualify the colt “warrants” a lawsuit, Ruis told the Courier-Journal.

“It’s just real disappointing how we have different sets of rules for different people there in Santa Anita,” Ruis said. “The horse tested positive. Why didn’t anybody know about it until now?”

Ruis told the Courier-Journal he’ll scratch an entry Saturday from a maiden special weight race at Los Alamitos. The event includes a runner trained by Bob Baffert, who also conditioned Justify and said in a statement Thursday that no illegal substance “was ever intentionally administered” to Justify or any of his horses.

Ruis doesn’t seem to be arguing intent behind the drug positive, but rather the CHRB’s decision not to pursue action on it.

Chuck Winner, the CHRB's chairman at the time of the 2018 Santa Anita Derby, issued a statement Thursday to the Daily Racing Form, said the board followed proper protocols in this case. Winner told DRF that six horses from other barns tested positive for scopolamine, and that the CHRB dismissed each case.

Winner said the horses "
ingested scopolamine from jimsonweed which was present in the hay that had been delivered to the barns," and that when it comes to Drape's report, "the whole premise of the story is false."

Leading up to the 2018 Derby, Ruis, a relative newcomer to the sport, was portrayed as a David attempting to slay Goliaths, still learning his new craft while campaigning his unlikely star colt. Ruis made a fortune selling most of a scaffolding company, bought back into the sport and has since retired Bolt d’Oro to stand at stud in Kentucky. His daughter, Shelbe, now trains the Ruis Racing runners.


Bolt d’Oro, the early 2018 Derby favorite, didn’t miss the board until finishing 12th in the slop on the first Saturday in May. His career highlights include victories in the 2017 Del Mar Futurity (G1) and FrontRunner Stakes (G1). In the Santa Anita Derby, he chased Justify throughout, hitting the wire three lengths behind the eventual Triple Crown winner.

Read the full Courier-Journal report here
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