US racehorse doping scheme leads to 27 arrests

By Owain Flanders

A number of racehorse trainers, veterinarians and drug distributors have been arrested in the US with charges related to the illegal drugging of racehorses.

One of the 27 people arrested in relation to the accusations is Jason Servis, trainer of Maximum Security, who won the £20m ($26m) Saudi Cup last month, the world’s richest horserace.

According to federal indictments related to the case, Servis and the 26 other defendants were involved in a scheme to manufacture and distribute adulterated and misbranded drugs to secretly administer to racehorses.

Servis, who entered horses in more than 1,000 races from 2018 to Feb 2020, is accused of doping Maximum Security and “virtually all of the racehorses under his control.”

The defendants are accused of administering horses with performance-enhancing drugs, such as blood builders, pain shots, bronchodilators and ‘red acid.'

William Sweeney Jr, Assistant Director of the FBI’S New York Office, said these substances led to a number of negative consequences for the horses, including: “cardiac issues, over-exertion leading to leg fractures, increased risk of injury, and in some cases death.”

The case has been described by Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for Manhattan, as the most far-reaching prosecution of racehorse doping in the history of the Department of Justice.


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