More Than Two Dozen Professionals Charged in Horse Racing Drug Scheme
After a lengthy investigation, several professionals have been charged in what is described as a worldwide scheme to drug horses and make them race faster.
Of those charged is the trainer of champion, Maximum Security, Jason Servis. Servis was charged with administering performance-enhancing drugs to Maximum Security and other horses. Maximum Security crossed the finish line at the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified for interference, and then went on to win four of his five high-profile races since.
The charges were leveled against trainers, veterinarians and more, and were unveiled in detail in four indictments released on Monday in Manhattan federal court. The charges against the 27 people include drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy.
Authorities say that participants in the scheme purposefully misled government agencies, including federal and state regulators, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, various state horse racing regulators and the betting public.
Servis, in particular, was charged with giving Maximum Security a drug called SGF-1000, and recommending the drug to other trainers as well as conspiring with a veterinarian to make it look like a false positive for another drug. Servis is accused of giving drugs to “…virtually all the racehorses under his control.”
The other trainer, Jorge Navarro, is among those charged.
The indictments note that horse racing is a $100 billion industry, with millions of fans worldwide, leading for racehorses to be sold at auction for well over $1 million.
Trainer, Graham Motion, tweeted out about the indictments, calling it, “A sad day for racing but a long time coming.”
The drugs given to the horses cause the horses to overexert themselves, leading to health issues or death. Other drugs that deaden a horse’s pain sensitivity could lead to leg fractures as well.