doping

Zulueta Joins Growing List of Plea-Changers in Doping Case

Marcos Zulueta, the now-barred Thoroughbred trainer facing two felony charges in the alleged nationwide horse-doping conspiracy case, appears on the verge of joining the growing list of defendants flipping their initial "not guilty" pleas to "guilty." On Thursday, Zulueta, formerly based in the mid-Atlantic region, was granted an Oct. 15 change-of-plea hearing in United States District Court (Southern District of New York). If Zulueta does indeed end up pleading guilty, his flip will be the eighth in the wide-ranging case that initially included 28 defendants listed in the original indictment...

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Trials in Alleged Doping Conspiracy Get Pushed to 2022

Back in May, United States District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil was emphatic about wanting to begin trials in the fourth quarter of 2021 for the first of four groupings of 14 defendants in the alleged federal doping conspiracy case. In late August, she even set a Nov. 15 start date for the trial of Seth Fishman, Lisa Giannelli and Jordan Fishman. But during a Sept. 15 status conference, that schedule got reset to January 2022, meaning that for a number of defendants in the latter groupings, their trials could...

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Mangini Gets 18 Months in Prison

Even up until the final tense moments before a federal judge handed down Scott Mangini's sentence Friday for his role as a licensed pharmacist who created custom drugs for racehorses in an alleged international doping conspiracy, the defense and prosecution sparred over two main issues: 1) How many of those drugs were actually "performance-enhancing," and 2) What should Mangini's sentencing be relative to that of Scott Robinson, who got 18 months in prison for marketing and selling those same pharmaceuticals? Saying that he wanted to "send a message" that would...

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Wiretaps Reveal Alleged Dopers' Bravado, Ignorance and Fears

Newly disclosed transcripts of intercepted phone conversations involving alleged doping co-conspirators Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro reveal both an initial brazenness against getting caught and an utter ignorance about some of the substances the two now-barred trainers were purportedly injecting into their racehorses. According to a previously unreleased collection wiretapped calls made public last week by federal prosecutors, Servis and Navarro didn't always know the names of some the illegal pharmaceuticals they purportedly administered to their horses. Nor were they always clear on exactly what those substances were or what...

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Think You're a Navarro Victim? Get In Line

Now that the barred Thoroughbred trainer Jorge Navarro has admitted in open court that he doped racehorses and procured performance-enhancing drugs [PEDs] for others between 2016 and 2020, the industry has a $25,860,514 question to kick around between now and when "The Juice Man" gets sentenced Dec. 17. Beyond Navarro's potential five-year prison term and possible deportation back to his native Panama, the 46-year-old conditioner also must pay restitution to victims in that astronomical amount as per the stipulations of his plea bargain. Although it is unclear exactly how federal...

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Trainers React to Navarro Guilty Plea

On Wednesday, disgraced trainer Jorge Navarro pled guilty to one count of distribution of adulterated and misbranded drugs with the intent to defraud and mislead, a major development in the doping scandal that has rocked the sport since indictments were announced in March of 2020. Navarro will likely spend time in prison and has been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $25,860,514. His career is over and he may be deported to his native Panama. But was this good day or bad day for the sport?  And what...

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Servis Seeks to Have Wiretaps Thrown Out

Lawyers representing Jason Servis filed a motion Monday to have evidence against him that was obtained through wiretaps thrown out. Attorneys Rita Glavin and Michael Considine charge that the government obtained authorization from a court to tap into Servis's phone based on a sworn affidavit from an FBI agent that, they contend, "contained deliberately or recklessly false statements and the material omission of statutorily and constitutionally required information." The Servis legal team argues that the wire taps evidence should be thrown out because using it represents a violation of Servis's...

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Rhein Implicates Servis When Switching Doping Plea to 'Guilty'

Kristian Rhein, a suspended veterinarian formerly based at Belmont Park, on Tuesday changed his plea to guilty on one felony count within the federal government's sprawling prosecution of an allegedly years-long conspiracy to dope racehorses. Speaking in open court, Rhein also directly implicated five others, most notably co-defendant Jason Servis, the now-barred trainer who was his regular client and allegedly administered performance-enhancing drugs [PEDs] on practically every Thoroughbred under his control. "I, along with Jason Servis, concealed the administration of SGF-1000 and clenbuterol from the owners by billing for other...

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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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