By Bill Finley
Despite trainer Jason Servis having pled guilty in court last week to charges that he regularly doped horses under his care, officials from the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA) issued a statement Monday in which they said they have yet to decide whether or not they will disqualify Maximum Security (New Year's Day) from his victory in the 2020 $20 million Saudi Cup. Just nine days after the race, Servis was indicted on a number of charges related to his use of performance-enhancing drugs, which led to the JCSA announcing that it would not pay out the $10 million due to the winner until investigating the situation.
Monday's statement read: “The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia continues to monitor developments in the USA with the ultimate aim of concluding an investigation related to the running of the 2020 Saudi Cup. Over the coming weeks we will assess our ability to conclude the investigation, which began in March 2020, in a robust and comprehensive fashion.”
Maximum Security passed all drug tests given to him both before and after the Saudi Cup, but racing officials from JCSA maintained that it was within their power to strip him of the win if it was proven that Servis had been illegally drugging Maximum Security in the months surrounding the race.
“If the results come out where they have concrete evidence that Maximum Security received performance-enhancing drugs of any kind within the previous six months of the Saudi Cup then by our rules that would result in automatic disqualification of a horse.” Prince Bandar bin Khalid al Faisal, the chairman of the JCSA, told podcaster Nick Luck in 2020.. “We are consistent in implementing our own rules and regulations.”
Government prosecutors alleged that they intercepted phone calls made by Servis that he gave the illegal drug SGF-1000 to “almost everything” in his barn. Considering the evidence that Servis was using PEDs with Maximum Security it is unclear why the JCSA did not strip the horse of his win immediately after Servis entered a guilty plea or what other factors it still wants to look into before wrapping up its investigation and deciding the outcome of the race.
Maximum Security was owned by the partnership of Gary and Mary West and Coolmore. Gary and Mary West issued a statement through Werk Thoroughbred Consultants after Servis's guilty please saying they would abide by what decision ultimately came out of Saudi Arabia.
“We believe in the justice system and have patiently waited for the legal prosecution to take its course,” the Wests told WTC. “Now that Jason Servis has entered a guilty plea, we want to make it clear that if the Saudi Cup purse is redistributed we would support that decision. Hopefully, that action will prevent future conduct of this nature. We believe the decision to take the Saudi Cup purse from Maximum Security and redistribute it is the correct one.”
Should Maximum Security be disqualified the win would go to Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute). She earned $3.5 million for running second, which means that her owners would receive an additional $6.5 million thanks to the disqualification.
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