• US trainer faces up to five years in jail after guilty plea
• Navarro won millions while coordinating illegal scheme
We believed he was guilty of the charges against him, but we had no idea the range of his evildoings. We give you selected excerpts from the two best reports. —Editor.
THE GUARDIAN reports:
A prominent horse racing trainer pleaded guilty on Wednesday to involvement in what US prosecutors have called a global scheme to systematically drug horses and cheat the betting public.
Jorge Navarro admitted in federal court in Manhattan to involvement in a conspiracy to administer performance-enhancing drugs to horses, in order to win more prize money at racetracks.
“I was the organiser for a criminal activity that involved five or more participants. I coordinated the administration of non-FDA approved drugs that were misbranded or adulterated to horses under my care,” he said a statement to the court. “I abused a position of trust as I was a licensed horse trainer and the horses were in my custody at the time.”
He could be jailed for five years at his sentencing, which is scheduled for December. He has agreed to pay $25.9m in restitution, reflecting winnings tied to doping. Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil accepted Navarro’s guilty plea.
“As he admitted today, Navarro, a licensed trainer and the purported ‘winner’ of major races across the world, was in fact a reckless fraudster whose veneer of success relied on the systematic abuse of the animals under his control,” US attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement.
Jason Kreiss, Navarro’s lawyer, said in an email the trainer accepted responsibility for his actions.
At least 31 trainers, veterinarians, drug distributors and others have been charged since March 2020 over alleged doping affecting races in New York, Kentucky, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio and the United Arab Emirates. Seven defendants have pleaded guilty and one entered a deferred prosecution agreement, court records show.
Other defendants include Jason Servis, the trainer of Maximum Security, who appeared to win the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified for interference. That horse also won the $20m Saudi Cup, the world’s richest horse race, before Servis was charged.
The following headline sums up horse racing American style doesn’t it? Horse racing should be banned immediately to protect the horses it uses, abuses, dopes and kills which begins at birth. —Editor.
Feds call Navarro a ‘Reckless Fraudster,’ Say drugs have ‘corrupted much of the horse racing industry’
THE PAULICK REPORT tells us:
As the Department of Justice stated in a press release, Navarro was a “reckless fraudster whose veneer of success relied on the systematic abuse of the animals under his control.” Furthermore, Audrey Strauss, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who is prosecuting the cases against more than two dozen trainers, veterinarians and suppliers, said performance-enhancing drugs “have corrupted much of the horse racing industry.”
We argue only with the use of the word ‘much.’ Performance enhancing drugs have corrupted ‘all’ of the horse racing industry and contributed mightily to the corresponding carnage which occurs at an alarming rate. —Editor.
Racing has been exposed as a sport with weak or non-existent leadership at the racetrack and regulatory level when it comes to integrity issues. Track executives care more about filling the entry box than they do about the ethics or character of the trainers and owners who are supplying those entries.
Regulators concern themselves more with finding the cheapest testing laboratories than hiring the ones that have proven to be most effective at finding illicit drugs. And then they brag about how clean the game is because there are so few positive tests.
Has a single racing commission or board of stewards — in California where the indictment said the stable is based or in any other state — called in the horse’s owners to discuss this phone call with Navarro?
I doubt it. The last thing many commissions want to do — especially those rife with conflicts of interest — is hold owners accountable. To repeat: Racing commissions do not care.
There is a reason The Jockey Club — which has no official role in regulating horse racing — hired 5 Stones Intelligence, the private investigation firm that began the doping probe eventually turned over to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
There is also a reason The Jockey Club has been so adamant in pushing for federal legislation that would turn over medication, integrity and safety issues to a group like the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that oversees Olympic athletes and the UFC, among other sports. It is because state racing commissions are not capable of policing the sport adequately.
If you are interested in horse racing and its problems, please read both of the above articles from top to bottom. There is much more. —Editor.
“Thoroughbred Trainer Jorge Navarro And Head Of New York Veterinary Clinic Plead Guilty In Federal Doping Case,” U.S. Department of Justice Press Release, 11th August 2021
“I spent half my life in horse racing. The Medina Spirit scandal lays bare why I left.,” by Elizabeth Banicki, The Guardian, 15th May 2021
Featured Image by Barbara Livingston
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