Harness Trainer Guido Gets 20 Months in Prison for Doping

Sarah Andrew


Thomas Guido, III, a 57-year-old former Standardbred trainer based in the Northeast, became the third defendant in related criminal racehorse doping cases this week to be sentenced to prison.

On Thursday, a federal judge put Guido behind bars for 20 months as part of an agreement with prosecutors in which Guido pleaded guilty to one felony count of substantive drug misbranding and adulteration with intent to defraud and mislead in exchange for three conspiracy charges against him being dropped.

Guido was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Prior to his Nov. 17 sentencing, he already paid a $61,800 forfeiture that had been a condition of his plea bargain.

At two separate sentencings on Nov. 15, the same judge in in United States District Court (Southern District of New York) sent the former Standardbred trainer Rene Allard to prison for 27 months while the former racetrack veterinarian Louis Grasso got 50 months for his role in the same doping ring.

Had the case gone to trial, prosecutors had been prepared to prove how Guido and Grasso worked together to administer performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to Standardbreds.

“Critically, Guido sought to obtain some of the most potent PEDs in the industry-blood builders-to administer to racehorses for the purpose of corruptly improving their race performance,” prosecutors wrote in a pre-sentencing submission.

Among the evidence that the feds intended to present if the case had gone to rial was a 2019 intercepted phone call in which the trainer and veterinarian discussed the death of a horse named Reiki, presumably after the administration of a blood-clotting agent.

“Guido appreciated the dangers of illegally administering drugs to racehorses for no legitimate medical purpose,” the prosecution's filing continued. “One of Guido's racehorses unexpectedly died with no apparent cause, leading co-defendant Louis Grasso to speculate that the horse had died after receiving a mis-administered dose of N-butyl alcohol. Guido likewise appreciated that his conduct was prohibited: over the course of his career, Guido had received multiple prior positive drug tests and fines or suspensions as punishment.”

Prosecutors had sought a 30-month prison sentence. Guido's attorney had argued for a far more lenient punishment of 12 months of home confinement. Guido's lawyer also disputed that his client had a direct role in Reiki's death.

“The government suggests that Mr. Guido was directly responsible for the death of a horse under his care,” Guido's attorney wrote. “The basis of this allegation is a conversation between Dr. Grasso and Mr. Guido recorded on October 2, 2019, in which they discuss the death of a horse owned by a friend of Mr. Guido.

“Dr. Grasso, who did not examine the horse, opines that the horse died of an improperly administered N-Butyl injection. [Reiki] died the day before [after competing in] a race at Pocono Downs.”

“Mr. Guido was not present at that race, he did not transport that horse to the track, and it's not clear whether Reiki was stabled at [his farm]. Mr. Guido did not mis-deliver an injection of N-Butyl to Reiki on October 1, 2019…. The entire conversation is speculative [and] we don't know why the horse died,” the defense filing continued.

But yet, even Guido's own attorney conceded in the same paragraph that, “What is true, however, is that similar to his facilitating others in obtaining Epogen prescriptions, Mr. Guido may have supplied the N-Butyl that Dr. Grasso had prescribed for his barn. It is conduct that he deeply regrets.”

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