doping

Navarro to Change 'Not Guilty' Plea in Doping Scandal

Barred trainer Jorge Navarro, the most notorious and prominent defendant in the international racehorse doping scandal that rocked the racing industry when the feds arrested 28 alleged conspirators in March 2020, has just been granted an Aug. 11 change-of-plea hearing at which he is expected to alter his initial "not guilty" plea from last year. This bombshell change in the case could mean a new pleading of "guilty" is in the pipeline for Navarro, perhaps as part of a sentencing bargain that has played out behind the scenes between federal...

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Oireachtas Hearings Conclude

The last of a series of Oireachtas Hearings into horse racing in Ireland concluded on Tuesday with representatives of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine the latest to answer questions. The independence of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) was a topic of discussion among deputies. Representatives of the IHRB were involved in two sessions this month along with Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), while the Irish Racehorse Trainers' Association (IRTA) were also invited to meet the joint Oireachtas committee. This followed a number of high profile comments made...

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Dr. Rick Arthur Q&A: Part One

After 15 years as California's equine medical director, Dr. Rick Arthur has stepped away from the post. A long-time vocal champion, both in his home state and at the international level, of tightened welfare practices in the sport, Arthur has spearheaded a slew of precedent-setting medication and equine safety reforms in California. During those 15 years, Arthur has been at the helm of the industry's veterinary ship while California has navigated a series of tumultuous storms, including a benighted venture to switch from dirt to synthetic racetrack surfaces during the...

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Judge in Navarro, Servis Case Denies Motion to Recuse

Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York angrily dismissed a motion from attorneys representing defendants in the wide-ranging doping scandal involving Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro that she recuse herself from the case. The lawyers had brought up conflict of interest concerns because she was the co-breeder of two horses that competed a total of four times against horses trained by  Navarro and Servis between 2006 and 2009. Vyskocil lashed out at the lawyers Friday, calling the motion "frivolous" and "meritless."...

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NY Harness Trainer Suspended 20 Years for Blood Doping

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) on Sept. 21 suspended Standardbred trainer Michael Temming for 20 years after two of his horses tested positive for a blood doping agent in a pair of December 2019 races at Yonkers Raceway. The Paulick Report first reported the story, describing the drug involved as IOX-2, a stabilizer of hypoxia-inducible factor, which is known as a blood and gene doping agent. TDN reported back in January that when the New York Equine Drug Testing Program announced the detection of this drug in Temming's...

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The Week in Review: After Guilty Pleas, Will More Trainers Be Charged?

The next chapter in the scandal that has rocked Thoroughbred racing played out last week when Scott Robinson and Sarah Izhaki both pled guilty to charges relating to the sale and distribution of performance-enhancing drugs used to dope race horses. It was an important development, but the bigger story is this: will it lead to a new and extensive list of indictments against trainers and others who so far have not been charged? That possibility certainly exists. For now, everything is speculation and the Department of Justice has not said...

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Two Defendants in Federal Indictment Plead Guilty to Doping Charges

Scott Robinson and Sarah Izhaki each pled guilty today to conspiring to unlawfully distribute adulterated and misbranded drugs for the purpose of doping racehorses. Robinson pled guilty before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken, and will be sentenced by Judge Oetken Jan. 15, 2021. Izhaki pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, and will be sentenced by Judge Vyskocil Dec. 2, 2020. The guilty pleas are the first major domino to fall from the bombshell FBI indictments that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New...

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Week in Review: 'What's more important? Winning at all costs or your dignity?'

Trainer Mark Casse and the other class of 2020 inductees to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame will have to wait another year to give their official acceptance speeches because the COVID-19 pandemic postponed this year's ceremony. But on Sunday, as a panelist among globally recognized trainers at the 68th annual Round Table Conference hosted remotely by The Jockey Club, Casse spoke with passion in a wide-ranging discussion that touched on problems plaguing the sport from a trainer's perspective. The words he uttered might not have been...

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Positive CBD Test Results in Suspension, Fine for Calhoun

A positive test for the Class B substance cannabidiol (CBD) in a filly who broke her maiden last summer at Ellis Park has resulted in a 30-day suspension and $500 fine for trainer W. Bret Calhoun. Citing mitigating circumstances ("number of violations in relation to overall record"), the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) wrote in an Apr. 14 ruling that Calhoun would only have to serve ten days of his penalty between Apr. 14 and 23. The remainder of his suspension will be stayed "on the condition that no Class...

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Harness Trainer Rene Allard Latest Arrested in Doping Scandal

Harness trainer Rene Allard has joined the long list of those indicted for their role in a massive horse doping scheme that has rocked Thoroughbred and harness racing. The number of individuals who are known to have been involved is now 29. Allard was not among the original list of names of those who were indicted that was released Monday by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Allard is second in the current trainer's standings at Yonkers Raceway, behind only Richard Banca, who has also...

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Servis, Six Others, Stripped of New Jersey Horse Racing Licences

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal in conjunction with the New Jersey Racing Commission announced that the State has suspended the horse racing licenses of seven New Jersey licensees. The suspensions come two days after the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed indictments against a total of 27 individuals in an alleged international conspiracy to dope racehorses. Seven individuals received letters from New Jersey Racing Commission Executive Director Judith A. Nason notifying them of their immediate suspensions. The septet includes trainer Jason Servis, Nicholas...

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After the Feds Are Gone, Then What?

The FBI and the Department of Justice have done what the horse racing industry had failed to do for decades. They caught and are prosecuting high-profile trainers for doping infractions as part of an investigation that has finally torn the lid off of what had been the shadowy and secretive world inhabited by racing's cheaters. The entire industry owes a debt of gratitude to these agencies. The problem is, it's not the FBI's job to clean up horse racing. It has more important matters to deal with. There may be...

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