A sad day for racing but a long time coming. A good day for those who try to play by the rules, we will all be better for it. – US trainer Graham Motion
In a few of the most dramatic and unsettling hours in horse racing history, two of America’s most prominent Thoroughbred trainers were among 27 indicted for illegal drug use in horses in a wide-ranging doping scheme.
JASON SERVIS, trainer of Champion 3-year-old of 2019 MAXIMUM SECURITY, and recent winner of the $20 million Saudi Cup, and Florida-based trainer JORGE NAVARRO had their barns raided Monday morning, March 9, at Palm Meadows and Calder (Gulfstream West). A press conference was held by the US Attorney of the southern District of New York’s office, outlining the indictment of 27 people, including Standardbred people, vets, etc., as well as the two trainers.
Servis and Navarro were arrested Monday. It is likely they will never have their names in racing programs ever again.
A press conference shown live on Facebook had a poor feed, but here are some details:
The indictments reference the administration of a substances such as blood builders, Red Acid, Brocho-dilator and other manufactured substances produced in areas not regulated by the FDA. Some substances given to horses were smuggled into the US.
“These customized drugs were designed to be undetectable to normal testing protocols,” said Goeffrey Berman, the U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of New York, at the press conference on Monday.
Servis is alleged to have provided a performance-enhancing drug “to virtually all of the racehorses under his control.” The substance is called SGF-1000, which contains “growth factors” and was hidden through false records from vets. A positive test for Maximum Security, the Kentucky Derby winner who was disqualified for interference, was falsified also.
Both Navarro and Servis were arrested on Monday morning, law-enforcement officials said.
The indictment documents also note several text massages that are simply shocking to read.
Servis sent one text to Navarro on or around Feb. 19, 2019 warning Navarro of a racing official near where they stored the substances. In an intercepted call Navarro made later that day to another party, Navarro said, “He would’ve caught our asses f—— pumping and pumping and fuming every f——- horse (that) runs today.”
A standardbred trainer, Nick Surick talks about horses that were “killed” by Navarro that Surick “made disappear.”
A very sad section of the indictments cites the 50 some injections given to $3 million earner X Y JET, a Grade 1 winner in Dubai and multiple stakes winner in the US who dropped dead of a heart attack earlier this year. Jorge Navarro trained the popular grey for Rockingham Ranch.
Others listed on the indictment documents were involved in manufacturing, selling, adultering and mislabeling drugs. The marketplaces www.horseprerace.com and horsegold.com are mentioned along with the sites’ curators, Scott Robinson and Scott Magini.
Indictments, with photos of bottles of drugs, texts between trainers, vets and a sad section on $3 million earner X Y JET can be viewed here.
In a statement released by Woodbine Entertainment this afternoon from CEO Jim Lawson, he remarked, “While today’s news is very disappointing, it’s a necessary development and further evidence that horse racing requires a higher level of coordinated regulation across all North American jurisdictions. It’s also a strong statement that the use of performance enhancing drugs will not be tolerated. Hopefully this permeates through the industry and changes the culture at all levels of horse racing. While Woodbine Entertainment was not specifically involved in this investigation, we are extremely supportive of all efforts to eradicate cheating and the use of PEDs in our sport. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this investigation. Even though the vast majority of trainers do not use PEDs, it’s important that we all work together for the betterment of horse racing and the welfare of our horses.”