Doping Scandal Rocks Horse-Racing

27 trainers, vets, others indicted in massive doping scheme that involves 2019 Kentucky Derby winner
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 10, 2020 6:17 AM CDT
Doping Scandal Rocks Horse-Racing
In this May 3, 2019, file photo, trainer Jason Servis is seen at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Servis is among more than two dozen officials charged in what authorities describe as a widespread international scheme to drug horses to race faster.   (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)

More than two dozen people, including the trainer of champion Maximum Security, were charged in what authorities described Monday as an international scheme to drug horses to make them race faster. Trainer Jason Servis, whose stable includes the 3-year-old champion, was charged with administering performance-enhancing drugs to that horse and others. Maximum Security crossed the finish line first at the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified for interference and has since won four of five high-profile races, reports the AP. Charges including drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy against 27 trainers, vets, and others were detailed in four indictments in Manhattan federal court. "What actually happened to the horses amounted to nothing less than abuse,” said William Sweeney Jr., assistant director in charge of the FBI New York Office.

"They experienced cardiac issues, overexertion leading to leg fractures, increased risk of injury, and, in some cases, death," he said. "Conversely, (humans) involved in the scheme continued to line their purses." Authorities said participants in the fraud—affecting races in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, and the United Arab Emirates—misled federal and state regulators, US Customs and Border Protection agents, various state horse racing regulators, and the betting public. Servis is charged with giving Maximum Security a drug called SGF-1000, recommending it to another trainer, and conspiring with a vet to make it look like a false positive for another substance. Maximum Security on Feb. 29 won the world's richest race, the $10 million Saudi Cup. “A sad day for racing but a long time coming,” trainer Graham Motion tweeted.

(Read more horse racing stories.)

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