Servis’ bust latest black eye for racing

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Jason Servis, trainer of champion Maximum Security (winner of the world’s richest race — the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup on February 29), and Jorge Navarro, trainer of 2019 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner X Y Jet, were among the 11 trainers, seven veterinarians, and nine suppliers indicted on Monday by the Southern District of New York for “offenses relating to the systematic and covert administration of illegal performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to racehorses competing across the United States and abroad.”

Both Servis and Navarro were arrested Monday morning.

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Servis is charged with giving a PED called SGF-1000 to virtually all of the racehorses under his care, including Maximum Security. SGF-1000 is not registered by the FDA and is considered a misbranded drug. It is sold by Medivet Equine, whose director of sales Michael Kegley Jr. was included in the indictment. Veterinarian Dr. Kristian Rhein was also indicted for his role in the sale and distribution of SGF-1000.

Rhein reportedly told Servis in a phone call intercepted last June that “They don’t even have a test for it. There is no test for it in America.”

Gary West, one of the owners of Maximum Security, said Bob Baffert will now train and care for the Eclipse Award winner, who may be best known for being disqualified from first to 17th in the Kentucky Derby.

Navarro is accused of using a straw man to receive certain products used to mask the presence of the PEDs. Navarro is alleged to have used SGF-1000 as well as “blood building drugs” on X Y Jet which, when administered before intense physical exertion, can lead to cardiac issues or death. X Y Jet died in January of this year as the result of an apparent heart attack.

Servis has three horses entered at Aqueduct in New York on Friday, but those three horses are expected to be scratched. Owners of horses trained by Servis as well as another New York-based trainer named in the indictment — Mike Tannuzzo — are expected to make arrangements to transfer their horses to other stables.

In Florida, Navarro has 10 horses entered at Gulfstream Park Wednesday through Friday. The Stronach Group, which owns Gulfstream Park Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields, Laurel, and Pimlico, said it would scratch any horses trained by those named in the indictment.

Besides Servis and Navarro, others named in the four indictments released on Monday: harness trainer Nicholas Surick, Michael Tannuzzo, Erica Garcia, Seth Fishman, Gregory Skelton, Kristian Rhein, Marcos Zulueta, Ross Cohen, Lisa Giannelli, Jordan Fishman, Rick Dane Jr., Christopher Oakes, Michael Kegley Jr., Alexander Chan, Henry Argueta, Rebecca Linke, Christopher Marino, Louis Grasso, Donato Poliseno, Conor Flynn, Thomas Guido III, Scott Robinson, Scott Mangini, Sarah Izhaki and Ashley Lebowitz.

Rebel Stakes Saturday

Baffert’s Authentic beat a solid field in last Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita to jump into a leading contender role for the Kentucky Derby. Baffert’s Nadal will try to do the same in the $1 million Rebel Stakes this Saturday at Oaklawn.

Nadal showed off his speed in a daylight debut win at Santa Anita January 19, and established his quality by wheeling back in just three weeks to win the Grade II San Vicente Stakes. He stretches out around two turns for the first time, continues to train extremely well and being by Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame should at least get a middle distance.

Grade I Hopeful Stakes winner Basin makes his three-year-old debut in the Rebel for trainer Steve Asmussen, while stablemate Silver Prospector comes off a nice win in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Feb. 17. Smarty Jones runner-up Three Techniques, California shipper American Theorem, and the undefeated No Parole add plenty of depth and talent to what shapes up as a key Derby prep.

Santa Anita cancels Friday

Due to forecasted heavy rain in Southern California this week, Santa Anita on Monday canceled racing on Friday out of an abundance of caution. Racing this weekend was to be evaluated later and will be dependent upon the weather forecast.

Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today: Oaklawn Park Thursday Race 6 — Many Sweet Treats (No. 6). Three-year-old filly debuted vs. elders in a no-tag event Feb 17 and showed some grit racing in traffic before finishing third. She drops in for a tag for a barn that does well with second-time starters and looks set now. Richard Eramia gets the mount and Many Sweet Treats is 7-2 in the morning line.

About the Author

Jon Lindo

Jon Lindo is a syndicated handicapper, long-time thoroughbred owner, and publisher of the Lindo Report. Jon is also a regular contributor to Race Day Las Vegas Radio show on KSHP 1400 in Las Vegas and Thoroughbred Los Angeles Radio show, heard in Las Vegas at thoroughbredla.com.

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