Jorge Navarro

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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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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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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Legendary Handicapper, Turf Writer Steve Crist Joins Writers' Room

Revolutionary handicapper and racing writer Steve Crist has been out of a public eye after retiring five years ago, but still has as much passion and enthusiasm for racing as he's ever had, and Wednesday morning, he joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland for an expansive discussion on a variety of industry issues. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Crist discussed his increasing involvement in the game from an ownership standpoint, racing's progress on detecting and punishing cheaters, the Bob Baffert saga...

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Change of Plea Hearing Scheduled for Jordan Fishman

A Change of Plea Hearing for Jordan Fishman, a defendant in the federal doping conspiracy case USA vs. Navarro, was entered into the record Wednesday by Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil in United States District Court, Southern District of New York. The hearing has been scheduled for October 6, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. Jordan Fishman is charged with drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy. The request for the hearing likely indicates Fishman's desire to change his plea from not guilty to guilty, following similar change of pleas from Navarro, veterinarian Kristian Rhein,...

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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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Week in Review: Debate Over 'PED' Devolves Into Theater of the Absurd

When former pharmacist Scott Mangini was sentenced to 18 months in prison last Friday for his admitted role in the federal doping case, it provided another piece to the puzzle in terms of how other offenders might later get sentenced for their roles in the same alleged conspiracy. Specifically, almost everyone in the Thoroughbred industry wants to know what will happen to the highest-profile defendants at the very end of the supply chain: The barred trainer Jorge Navarro, who has already pled guilty to one felony count in the conspiracy...

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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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Hot Trainer Steve Asmussen Joins TDN Writer's Room

On his drive from Saratoga to Kentucky Downs Tuesday, Steve Asmussen stopped in every state he drove through and bought lottery tickets. Shocking that he didn't win. Coming off one of the greatest week-and-a-half stretches in racing history, during which he won five Grade I races in Saratoga over nine days, Asmussen was this week's Green Group Guest of the Week on the TDN Writer's Room, presented by Keeneland. If that wasn't enough, two of his wins, Gunite in the GI Hopeful S. and Echo Zulu in the GI Spinaway...

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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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Government Says Servis Wiretaps Legit

United States Attorneys have filed an opposing motion to deny barred trainer Jason Servis and his fellow defendants' motions to suppress the wiretaps placed on their cell phones, along with the seized physical and electronic evidence from a search of veterinarian Seth Fishman's belongings. The opposing motion was filed Sept. 2nd in the Southern District of New York by U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, who writes, "the defendants' motions are entirely without merit and should be denied in full." On Aug. 3, lawyers representing Servis filed a motion to have evidence...

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