Doping Scandal

'Deceit in Service of Greed': Harness Doper Banca Gets 30 Months

Former harness trainer Richard Banca, who in April pleaded guilty to one felony count in the federal racehorse doping conspiracy sting that has now netted two dozen convictions or guilty pleas, got sentenced to 30 months in a federal prison Sept. 20. Banca also must forfeit $120,975 and was separately fined $10,000. "Banca was a prominent racehorse trainer whose success was founded on fraud and deceit," prosecutors wrote in a pre-sentence filing in United States District Court (Southern District of New York). "Banca's racing program-which he built and helmed-was predicated...

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Florida Vet Garcia Wants Plea Change to Avoid Doping Trial

Erica Garcia, a Florida-based veterinarian, broke off her longstanding business relationship with the now-imprisoned trainer Jorge Navarro in early 2019. But she remained in contact with other conspirators of the Thoroughbred doping scheme that Navarro-and numerous other racetrackers-would later admit to. So when federal investigators began compiling evidence that led to a nationwide series of arrests in a widespread racehorse drugging crackdown in March 2020, Garcia was considered fair game for her alleged role in the pipeline of purportedly performance-enhancing drugs. Charged with two felony counts involving conspiracies to commit...

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Giannelli Trial Continues

Lisa Giannelli testified at her horse doping trial May 4 that she had a good reason for wanting to testify in her own defense. "To tell my story," she told the jury in U.S. District Court in New York. She is on trial on a conspiracy charge, accused of assisting veterinarian Seth Fishman in the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs that prosecutors say were used by corrupt trainers to dope racehorses in violation of racing regulations. During three hours of questioning by her attorney Louis Fasulo, Giannelli, who admitted being nervous...

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Lisa Giannelli Trial Begins

Jury selection kicked off April 27 in the trial of a Delaware woman who prosecutors say helped veterinarian Dr. Seth Fishman supply illegal performance-enhancing drugs to trainers who used them to secretly dope horses to win races. By day's end, a jury of eight men and four women was sworn in to hear the case against Lisa Giannelli in U.S. District Court in New York. Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil scheduled opening statements for Apr. 28. The government has two FBI agents lined up to testify as their first witnesses. Giannelli...

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Two Years After the Indictments, Where Are They Now?

It may seem like yesterday, but the bombshell that was the announcement that more than two dozen people had been indicted for their alleged role in a horse doping scheme was made exactly two years and two days ago. What has happened to the 29 individuals since the day that shook horse racing to its core? Here's a rundown: Jorge Navarro: Navarro pled guilty to one count of drug alteration and misbranding and was sentenced to five years in prison, the maximum allowable sentence. Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil was not...

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Caught Up In Fishman Scandal, Hall Tells Her Story

It was back in October of 2018 that a small-time harness racing owner and trainer named Adrienne Hall reached out to veterinarian Dr. Seth Fishman. She was new to the Florida harness circuit and says she simply was looking for a vet to help her with her horses. What she did not know at the time was that she had just made one of the worst mistakes of her life. Hall's relationship with Fishman evolved and became complicated. It led to Hall, 42, testifying earlier this year in court against...

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Convicted Drug Distributor Robinson: “I Sold to Everybody”

Before he was caught up in the probe into performance-enhancing drugs in horse racing and arrested for selling and shipping adulterated and misbranding drugs, Scott Robinson was living large. He drove a Lamborghini and his on-line businesses that the government has charged were selling PEDs were pulling in millions. There was never any shortage of customers. "I sold to everybody," said Robinson, who added that he had "thousands of customers," and not just in horse racing. Robinson said his products were bought by individuals using them with camels, racing greyhounds,...

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Full Day of Testimony in Fishman Trial

A New York jury heard a full day of testimony Jan. 21 in the horse doping trial of Dr. Seth Fishman and Lisa Giannelli. The entire morning and most of the afternoon featured a second day of testimony from a woman who worked for Fishman at his Florida business Equestology for five years. Courtney Adams, 34, testifying from Florida via video conference, told jurors that Fishman and Equestology were all about "testability." That meant creating "product" that couldn't be detected in post-race testing by horse racing authorities, she said. During...

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Zulueta Changes Plea to Guilty

Trainer Marcos Zulueta joined the growing list of those involved in the Jason Servis-Jorge Navarro doping scandal to change their plea to guilty. Zulueta did so Friday when appearing via teleconference before federal judge Mary Kay Vyskocil. In doing so, Zulueta became the ninth of 27 people indicted in March of 2020 to plead guilty. Having pleaded guilty to adulterating and misbranding drugs with the intent to defraud or mislead, he faces up to five years in prison and will be sentenced in February. In the original indictment, Zulueta was...

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Alleged Doper Oakes the Latest Defendant to Ask for Plea-Change Hearing

Christopher Oakes, a barred Standardbred trainer facing two felony charges in the alleged nationwide horse-doping conspiracy case, could be the ninth among 28 initially indicted defendants to flip his plea to "guilty" after having requested and been granted a plea-change hearing that on Tuesday got set for Oct. 20. According to court documents, Oakes was the subject of two barn searches and numerous wiretapped phone conversations in 2019 in which he allegedly discussed helping the admitted doper Jorge Navarro procure and administer performance-enhancing drugs [PEDs] to be used on Thoroughbreds....

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Drug Distributor Kegley Pleads Guilty, Faces up to 36 Months in Jail

Among the individuals originally indicted in the doping scandal involving top trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro, Michael Kegley Jr. entered a guilty plea Friday morning during a teleconference before federal judge Mary Kay Vysockil. Kegley pled guilty to one count of drug adulteration and misbranding. Kegley had originally pled not guilty to the charges. Kegley will not be sentenced until a Nov. 22 hearing, but it was revealed during Friday's proceedings that he has entered into a plea agreement with government lawyers in which he has agreed to a...

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Mangini Pleads Guilty in Doping Case

Scott Mangini, who, along with Jason Servis,  Jorge Navarro and others was indicted in March 2020 for his involvement in a horse doping scheme, has pled guilty to conspiring to unlawfully distribute adulterated and misbranded drugs with the intent to defraud and mislead, it was announced Friday by Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He faces a maximum sentence of five years. Mangini, 55, became the third person involved with the case to enter a guilty plea. The list includes Mangini's business partner,...

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