Más de dos docenas de preparadores, veterinarios y otras figuras del hipismo estadounidense han sido encausadas en conexión con lo que las autoridades describen como un extenso programa de dopaje.
Más de dos docenas de preparadores, veterinarios y otras figuras del hipismo estadounidense han sido encausadas en conexión con lo que las autoridades describen como un extenso programa de dopaje de caballos de carrera.
En total 27 individuos fueron encausados el lunes en un tribunal de Manhattan, acusados de dopar caballos en Nueva York, Nueva Jersey, la Florida, Ohio, Kentucky y los Emiratos írabes Unidos.
El fiscal Geoffrey S. Berman planeaba dar una conferencia de prensa más tarde en la que ofrecería detalles.
Las autoridades dijeron que los involucrados engañaron a los organismos de gobierno, al Servicio de Aduanas y Protección Fronteriza, a los reguladores y a los apostadores.
Según la acusación, se ha venido suministrando a los caballos sustancias que aumentaban su resistencia desde hace por lo menos una década.
Las autoridades dijeron que a veces los caballos se exigían demasiado y tenían problemas cardíacos o incluso murieron. Agregaron que también se les suministró a los animales sustancias que les permitían tolerar mejor el dolor, lo que podía dar lugar a fracturas de las patas.
Feds charge horse racing trainers, veterinarians over ‘widespread, corrupt’ doping scheme
More than two dozen horse racing industry employees were charged Monday with participating in “a widespread, corrupt” doping scheme, the latest black eye for the troubled sport.
Federal prosecutors brought charges against 27 people in a far-reaching operation involving performance-enhancing drugs, alleging that racehorse trainers, veterinarians and others manufactured, distributed and received “adulterated and misbranded PEDs and … secretly [administered] those PEDs to racehorses,” according to the charging documents.
The investigation found that the trainers and vets were able to deceive horse racing regulators by administering PEDs that were “difficult or impossible to detect in anti-PED tests,” some of them unapproved and administered using methods “that can injure and, in extreme cases, kill the horse.” The drugs also masked the horses’ ability to feel pain, causing the animals to overexert themselves during exercise.
“These substances stimulated endurance, deadened nerves, increased oxygen intake and reduced inflammation,” William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said Monday at a news conference. “What actually happened to the horses amounted to nothing less than abuse.”
The indictments were handed down amid a time of increased scrutiny on the industry, which has seen a rise in fatal racehorse injuries over the past year. In January, a House of Representatives committee heard testimony from supporters of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which would establish an independent, private nonprofit corporation that would administer an anti-doping program for racehorses.
Graham Motion, who trained 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and is an advocate for the act, wrote Monday on Twitter that it was “a sad day for racing but a long time coming.”
“If it happened in any sport it would be disappointing, and when you’re talking about horses being put at risk, it’s even more troubling,” Motion said in a telephone interview.
“Look, it’s a sad day for the sport because it’s sad to know that there are people who are prepared to go to these lengths to cheat in our sport,” Motion added. “Let’s face it. It’s like any sport. We’re no different than any other sport in that respect. It’s a shame that it’s taken this long to catch these guys, who clearly, according to the indictments, have been using some pretty dramatic medications.”
Among those charged was trainer Jason Servis, who was accused of “orchestrating a widespread scheme of covertly obtaining and administering adulterated and misbranded PEDs” to “virtually all of the racehorses under his control.” One of Servis’s horses, Maximum Security, crossed the finish line first in last year’s Kentucky Derby, but he later was disqualified for interference. Last month, Maximum Security won the inaugural Saudi Cup, the sport’s most lucrative race.
The investigation covered a period beginning in January 2017 and continuing through January of this year, and it involved races across the country. FBI agents on Monday raided barns at Gulfstream Park West, near Miami, and the Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Fla.
“By evading PED prohibitions and deceiving regulators and horse racing authorities, among others,” the indictment alleges, “participants sought to improve race performance and obtain prize money from racetracks throughout the United States and other countries, including in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, and the United Arab Emirates.”
Jorge Navarro, a trainer whose horses have earned close to $35 million over his career, is at the center of the alleged scheme. Federal prosecutors allege Navarro gave a horse named X Y Jet adulterated and misbranded performance-enhancing drugs before wins in Florida and Dubai last year that earned $1.5 million. The 8-year-old X Y Jet died of a heart attack in January after a career in which he earned more than $8 million in purses over 26 starts.