The Sarafan case may have begged a few questions about the Jockey Club's drug scrutiny procedures for international horses, but it was a virtual clean scorecard compared to the Japan Racing Association's. Sarafan was scratched from the $14 million Hong Kong Mile last Wednesday as a 'potential positive' to a cortico-steroid. The drug was given to Sarafan when he was still in America, well before heading to Tokyo for the Japan Cup and his subsequent trip to Hong Kong. Hong Kong Jockey Club chief chemist Terence Wan See-ming found the cortico-steroid in a routine swab sample taken from Sarafan after his arrival here, and subsequently determined the drug had been given 54 days before his supposed Hong Kong engagement. Remembering that the cortico-steroid is said to have a 56 day withholding period, and that Sarafan raced in the Japan Cup 14 days before his Hong Kong engagement, the unmistakable conclusion is that Sarafan raced in one of the world's great races with the drug in his system. The obvious questions are: Did the Japan Racing Association go through the appropriate testing procedures prior to Sarafan racing at Fuchu on November 30. If so, why was he allowed to run when it's as clear as day that he would have swabbed positive? If Sarafan had won, would the 'blind eye' that allowed the Neil Drysdale-trained horse to run in the world's richest race on turf have been kept closed a bit longer, with a hugely-embarrassing positive swab being quietly swept under the futon?