Dozens of People Accused for Horse Doping Scheme

March 15, 2020 Todd Winkler

A variety of racehorse owners, veterinarians, and drug dealers have been charged in the US on charges related to suspected racehorses drugging. Some of the 27 people arrested in connection with the charges are Jason Servis, Maximum Security trainer who last month won the £20 million Saudi Cup, the richest horserace in the world.

Horse racing event

Horse racing © Annca

Maximum Protection first crossed the finish line at the Kentucky Derby in May, only to be disqualified for near-knocking on a competing horse and halting others ‘ momentum. Country House was declared the winner, a shot 65-1. Maximum Security proceeded to win four of his next five races— including last month’s $10 million first-place searches in the world’s richest race: the King Abdulaziz Saudi Cup racecourse in Riyadh.

They Defrauded the Betting Public and Federal and State Authorities

Servis and the 26 other defendants were engaged in a conspiracy to produce and sell adulterated and misbranded medications in order to unlawfully prescribe them to racehorses, according to federal indictments linked to the trial.

The suspects were accused of injecting horses with performance-enhancing medications such as blood boosters, pain injections, bronchodilators, and’ red acid.’ William Sweeney Jr, Assistant Director of the FBI’s New York Office, said these substances have resulted in a variety of adverse effects for the horses, including:’ heart defects, over-exertion leading to leg breaks, increased risk of death.

In order to avoid discovering their operation, the complaint claimed, the suspects systematically defrauded and deceived “the betting public” and the federal and state authorities.

Geoffrey Berman, the United States Attorney for Manhattan, has described the lawsuit as the most far-reaching investigation of racehorse cheating in the Department of Justice’s history.

Horse racing has a long tradition of drugs repurposed by trainers in search of an advantage in results. Drug studies for also identified frog and cobra venom, Viagra, cocaine, heart drugs, and steroids. Combined with weak state laws, this dependence on performance-enhancing substances has made American racetracks among the worst in the country.

According to the Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database, almost 10 horses died on average at U.S. racetracks in 2018. That number is two-and-a-half to five-fold higher than the fatality rate in Europe and Asia, where drug-enhancing laws are more stringently applied.

Servis and Navarro Were the Most Famous Trainers Involved in the Scheme

The most famous trainers named in the indictment were Servis and Navarro whose horses have gained more than $37 million since 2008. According to the complaint, both are located in the Mid-Atlantic, and often conspired to prevent their hacking from being identified.

On February 18, 2019, Servis informed Navarro in a text message that a race official was in the barn area near where they held the prohibited joint blockers and blood builders they called “red acid” and “monkey,” said the indictment. Around the same day, Navarro was overheard at a call with another complainant, saying that any horse that raced that day should otherwise have been found pumping and fuming.

Additionally, Security was checked at the Monmouth Park barn on the Jersey Shore on June 5, 2019, when Servis trained him to race in the Pegasus Stakes. In a telephone call overheard with one of his veterinarians by the police, Kristian Rhein, Servis suggested that Maximum Security had received a shot of SGF-1000, a compounded drug aimed at enhancing results, the indictment said.

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