FBI Indictments

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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PED Formulator Faces Three Years in Prison

The doping conspiracy case that has been winding through the federal court system since March 2020 netted its seventh guilty plea Wednesday when a 63-year-old Massachusetts man with a doctoral degree in cancer-related toxicology admitted to a judge that he mixed formulas that sometimes included steroids and shipped them in unlabeled vials to a Florida veterinarian who allegedly sold them to racetrack clients. By pleading guilty Oct.6 to one count of drug adulteration and the misbranding of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), Jordan Fishman now faces three years in prison and a...

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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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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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NYRA, FOX Sports TV Analyst Acacia Courtney Joins Writers' Room

One of the stars of the successful New York Racing Association and Fox Sports daily broadcast from Saratoga, Acacia Courtney joined the TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland Wednesday morning. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Courtney gave her impressions on the early part of the Saratoga meet and talked strategy when it comes to analyzing the 2-year-old races that are so integral to the programs at the Spa. Asked about the different feeling in the air at tracks this year with fans...

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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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Alleged Dopers Want Recusal Based On Judge's Past As Racehorse Breeder

One day ahead of a key status conference that could finally establish the trial schedule in the alleged nationwide racehorse doping conspiracy case, lawyers for the 14 defendants filed a "motion to recuse" letter asking United States District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil to remove herself from overseeing the case because she once bred Thoroughbred racehorses in New York, an industry connection the defendants believe will prevent them from getting a fair and impartial trial. "Our understanding is that Your Honor bred racehorses for a number of years," the May 13...

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LA Times Columnist John Cherwa Joins Writers' Room

Los Angeles Times columnist John Cherwa has seen a lot in just a handful of years on the Southern California racing beat, and Wednesday morning he joined the TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland to discuss the past, present and future of racing in the Golden State. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Cherwa talked about the progress in Santa Anita's safety record, the top 3-year-olds on the west coast and the effect of last week's protest at Golden Gate Fields. "I wrote...

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Stories to Watch in 2021

It's time to turn the page from what was a horrendous year. Thank goodness. The year 2021 is upon us and, for horse racing, it figures to be an important and eventful 12 months. These are the stories we will be talking about and writing about in 2021: Will Handle Be On The Rise? Perhaps the most positive story to come out of 2020 has been the handle figures. With the pandemic causing a sizeable reduction when it comes to the amount of races that were run, betting figured to...

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Brendan Walsh Joins Writers' Room 2020 Wrap-Up Show

It's been an eventful year to say the least, and Wednesday morning, the crew of the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland wrapped up the biggest stories of 2020 and looked forward to the promise of a new year with an assist from trainer Brendan Walsh. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week for the second time, Walsh talked about the highly-anticipated return of barn star Maxfield (Street Sense), what his hopes are for the implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act and trainees...

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West Point Founder Terry Finley Joins TDN Writers' Room

Founder, president and CEO of West Point Thoroughbreds Terry Finley joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland Wednesday to discuss an array of industry issues and potential solutions. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Finley provided his insights on how the game can better attract new customers, whether or not racing's drug problem is finally going to be cleaned up, the evolution of the owner partnership and much more. Asked about how his friends who are casual observers of racing view the sport,...

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