Servis, 26 others indicted in horse-doping scheme

According to its LinkedIn page, Medivet’s mission is, “Bringing state of the art science and principled stewardship to performance horses, their owners, and the equine industry.
Following the medical model of ‘do no harm,’ MediVet Equine develops scientifically based biological therapeutics enabling the horse to call on its own healing ability, thus achieving its full performance potential.”
The indictments accuse Servis of conspiring to secretly dope horses.
Maximum Security, who was bred in Kentucky, finished first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, but was disqualified for interference.
The indictment alleges Servis used performance enhancing drugs on “virtually all the racehorses under his control.”
In the two years between February 2018 and last month, he entered horses in 1,082 races, the federal court documents state.

Servis is charged with giving Maximum Security a performance-enhancing drug called SGF-1000, recommending it to another trainer, and conspiring with a veterinarian to make it look like a false positive for another substance.

The other trainer, Jorge Navarro, is also among those charged.

According to its website, MediVet Equine is the original developer of SGF 1000 RMR. It describes its products as “safe and suitable for all performance horses.” The company is headquartered in Nicholasville and does “research and development in partnership with Tailor Made Compounding,” the company states on its Web site.

In addition to thoroughbred racing, the indictments accuse people connected to the standardbred industry, as well.

Those indicted “routinely” misled regulators and even worse, “the betting public,” the indictments read, noting horse racing is a $100 billion business worldwide and “all to the detriment and risk of the health and well-being of the racehorses.”
Since being disqualified from his Derby win last year, Maximum Security won all his races, including the the world’s biggest cash payout, the $10 million at the inaugural Saudi Cup at the King Abdulaziz racecourse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia last month. He was the American 3-year-old American Champion Male Horse for 2019 after winning the Florida Derby, Haskell Invitational, Bold Ruler Handicap and the Cigar Mile.
Horse racing has a long history of trainers’ re-purposing drugs in pursuit of a performance edge. Viagra, frog and cobra venom, steroids, cocaine, and heart medicines have been detected in drug tests, according to the New York Times.

Nearly 10 horses a week on average died at U.S. racetracks in 2018, according to The Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database. That figure is anywhere from two and a half to five times greater than the fatality rate in Europe and Asia, where rules against performance-enhancing drugs are enforced more stringently.

Racehorses can sell at auction for well over $1 million.

Authorities say the drugs can cause horses to overexert themselves, leading to heart issues or death. According to the indictments, other drugs used to deaden a horse’s sensitivity to pain to improve the horse’s performance could also lead to leg fractures.

The indictments allege the makers and distributors of “blood builders,” drugs that boost a horse’s endurance, have become increasingly common in the racing industry during the last decade.

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