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

Jason Servis | Sarah Andrew

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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 guilty to or enter into a possible plea-bargained agreement instead of going to trial.

That will leave Servis alone to face the jury when his trial begins Jan. 9.

The nationwide sweep in March 2020 has already resulted in numerous prison terms, but Servis has always been the most prominent name among the indicted individuals. He amassed gaudily high win percentages during the 2010s decade prior to getting arrested on three felony drug misbranding and conspiracy to commit fraud charges.

According to a trove of wiretap evidence (plus implicating testimony from plea-bargaining defendants who are already imprisoned) Servis allegedly doped almost all the horses under his control in early 2019, including MGISW Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first in the GI Kentucky Derby, but was DQ'd for in-race interference. One of Servis' elixirs of choice was allegedly SGF-1000, the adulterated, misbranded and purportedly performance-enhancing drug (PED).

Chan is alleged to have assisted by performing injections and hiding the charges from billing and veterinary records. It is possible that he could implicate Servis at his plea change hearing.

That's what Kristian Rhein, a veterinarian formerly based at Belmont Park, did to both Servis and Chan in August 2021 when he changed his own plea to guilty on one felony count within the federal government's sprawling prosecution of an allegedly years-long conspiracy to dope racehorses.

“I, along with Jason Servis, were leaders and organizers [of others who performed allegedly criminal actions], which included my associate, Dr. Alexander Chan…” Rhein told Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil at his 2021 plea change.

Rhein got the maximum sentence of three years imprisonment for his crimes.

Vyskocil, who sentenced Rhein, is the same judge who will hear Chan's plea change on Monday.

Rhein, Chan and Servis at various times during 2019 were recorded on wiretaps discussing aspects related to Servis's alleged doping regimen. At times the two veterinarians rationalized to each other and to Servis that if the administered substances couldn't be detected via racing commission testing, then they weren't considered illegal.

Chan had filed a motion in August 2021 to suppress the use of those wiretapped calls as evidence, but the court denied his motion.

One conversation between Chan and Servis from Aug. 14, 2019, went like this, according to court documents:

Servis: Well, is it okay to use that?

Chan: Use what?

Servis: The SGF.

Chan: Yeah, like New York rules, there is nothing like against, like it's, you know, like it says unless it's not specifically written in there then it's seven days, you know. So like, it's not illegal.

According to the original indictment, “Chan and Rhein coordinated the sourcing and administration of SGF-1000, and engaged in efforts to secretly distribute and administer adulterated and misbranded PEDs and to counsel racehorse trainers and/or owners on the use of such substances, including the covert administration of such substances to avoid detection by the FDA and state regulatory authorities. They did so in furtherance of Servis and other trainers' efforts to administer adulterated and misbranded PEDs, for the purpose of secretly enhancing race performance.

“In connection with that scheme, Chan provided false billing records that did not reflect drugs Chan had injected into racehorses under Servis' control, and falsified his own prescription records as to which of Servis' racehorses received a particular prescription drug, concealing from potential investigators the true nature and means of administration of the PEDs that Chan provided and administered at Servis' direction,” the indictment stated.

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