Jorge Navarro

With Trial Looming, Chan, Former Vet for Servis, Now Wants to Change Plea

Seven weeks before the start of the final remaining high-profile trial in the federal doping conspiracy case from 2020, the New York-based veterinarian Alexander Chan, whose client list included co-defendant trainer Jason Servis, has changed his mind about having a jury decide his fate on three felony charges for alleged participation in drug adulteration, misbranding, and wire fraud conspiracies. On Thursday, Chan asked for and was swiftly granted a Dec. 5 change-of-plea hearing in United States District Court (Southern District of New York), at which he will likely either plead...

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HBPA Lawyer Peter Ecabert Joins TDN Writers' Room Podcast to Talk HISA

Is the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) good for horsemen and, by extension, good for racing? Representing the National HBPA, lawyer Peter Ecabert doesn't think that it is, and he was invited to join the TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland to explain why. Ecabert was one of two guests on this week's podcast as Len Green, the founder and chairman of the Green Group, came on to share some tax advice and to talk about his soon-to-be-named champion 2-year-old filly Wonder Wheel (Into Mischief). When asked...

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Trainer Tannuzzo Gets 27-Month Prison Sentence in Doping Case

The barred Thoroughbred trainer Michael Tannuzzo, 50, was sentenced to 27 months in a federal prison on Monday as part of plea agreement in which he had previously copped guilty to one felony count of drug adulteration and misbranding with the intent to defraud or mislead. Tannuzzo, a native of Brooklyn and Queens who had 11 horses racing at Aqueduct at the time of his Mar. 9, 2020, arrest, made headlines 24 hours later by steadfastly declaring his innocence and maintaining that the New York State Gaming Commission shouldn't have...

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If HISA Goes, Honest Horsemen Will Be The Losers

The National HBPA and its affiliates got their wish Friday. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is unconstitutional. As a result, HISA is on life support and very well could be finished. Within hours of the decision being announced, the National HBPA was taking a victory lap, declaring that this was a win for horsemen across the country. "Today's ruling shows the HISA regulations are not in the best interest of thoroughbred racing's participants and, as...

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Giannelli Gets Three and a Half Years in Prison

Lisa Giannelli was sentenced Sept. 8 to 3 1/2 years in prison as part of the federal government's sweeping investigation into horse doping at race tracks across the country. Giannelli, 56, was found guilty of peddling illegal performance-enhancing drugs to trainers to dope horses and faced a maximum of five years in prison. Her lawyers appealed for a no-jail sentence of probation. "This was not a one-time thing," Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil said in U.S. District Court in New York. "For 18 years, Ms. Giannelli marketed and sold what she...

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Weekly Rulings: Aug. 8-14

Every week, the TDN publishes a roundup of key official rulings from the primary tracks within the four major racing jurisdictions of California, New York, Florida and Kentucky. Here's a primer on how each of these jurisdictions adjudicates different offenses, what they make public (or not) and where. With the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) having gone into effect July 1, the TDN will also post a roundup of the relevant HISA-related rulings from the same week.California Track: Del Mar Date: 08/11/2022 Licensee:  Derrick Brown, owner Penalty: Suspension Violation:...

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Taking Stock: Sharp as a Tack

Pan the camera away from Saratoga and Del Mar, where the glamorous juveniles debut one after another, and focus for a moment on two lower-profile tracks that hosted two eye-popping performances this weekend. On Saturday at Prairie Meadows, Tyler's Tribe, a 2-year-old Iowa-bred gelding by Sharp Azteca (Freud), won the 5 1/2-furlong Iowa Stallion Futurity by 12 1/2 lengths in 1:04:18 to remain undefeated in three starts. He earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure--you read that correctly--for the easy score. It wasn't a fluke, either, because in his previous start...

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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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Fishman Appeals Conviction, 11-Year Sentence

Veterinarian Seth Fishman, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison July 11 after two felony drug-supplying convictions in a decades-long international racehorse doping conspiracy, has appealed his case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Fishman's notice of appeal landed on the electronic court docket shortly after 6 p.m. Eastern time Friday. The filing noted that Fishman is appealing both the conviction and the sentence. Fishman's 11-year sentence was the longest meted out in the case that led to charges against 31 individuals, including prominent...

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Feds: Fishman 'Amplified the Disastrous Effects of Doping'

Six days before veterinarian Seth Fishman is to be sentenced for his two felony drug-supplying convictions in a decades-long international racehorse doping conspiracy, United States prosecutors told a judge he deserves a prison term greater than the 10 years recommended by federal probation officials, but below the maximum sentencing guideline of 20 years. The feds also recommended that the judge not use convicted trainer Jorge Navarro's five-year sentence-the most severe among prison terms meted out so far in this conspiracy-as a measuring stick, because Fishman's criminal actions had a multiplying...

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Barred Trainer Tannuzzo Poised to Change Plea in Doping Case

The barred trainer Michael Tannuzzo appears poised to join the parade of indicted defendants in the 2020 racehorse doping conspiracy case who have changed their pleas to guilty in order to keep felony charges against them from getting decided at trial. On Tuesday a federal judge granted Tannuzzo a swift July 7 hearing to explain his reasons for wanting to change his initial "not guilty" plea. Tannuzzo, 50, who had 11 horses under his care and had been racing at Aqueduct at the time of his March 9, 2020, arrest,...

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Judge Says No to Fishman Conviction Dismissal

A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request by prison-bound veterinarian Seth Fishman to dismiss Count One of his two racehorse doping conspiracy convictions. Fishman, whose 26 months as a defendant have been hallmarked by minor courtroom dramas, various attempts to prevent or delay the trial, and accusations that he continued to peddle purported performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) while free on bail, had argued that he was tried twice for the same crime because the first count was contained within the second, much broader conspiracy. Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil of United...

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