Stronach Group scratches horses, refuses future entries from indicted trainers

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Pimlico Race Course on Preakness day. Photo by World Red Eye.

The Stronach Group, owners of Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park, announced today it will scratch all horses and refuse future entries from two trainers indicted by federal prosecutors, Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro, citing the health and safety of the animals.

Servis and Navarro were part of a group of more than two dozen trainers, veterinarians and drug distributors accused of doping horses, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced on Monday.

Prosecutors allege Servis and Navarro administered “adulterated or misbranded drugs” that served as performance enhancers. Per The New York Times, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, said the horses were “injected and force-fed all manner of illegal and experimental drugs, drugs that allowed the horses to run unnaturally fast and to mask pain,” which can cause sometimes-fatal injuries.

Servis, most famously, trained Maximum Security, who crossed the finish line first at last year’s Kentucky Derby but was later disqualified for interfering with other runners. The colt skipped the Preakness Stakes, and eventually went on to win four more races in 2019, including the Haskell Invitational Stakes and the richest race in the world, the Saudi Cup.

Servis also trained Actress, winner of the 2017 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico.

Navarro is known locally for Sharp Azteca, winner of the 2016 City of Laurel Stakes at Laurel Park.

Lawyers for both trainers told the Times that Servis and Navarro intend to plead not guilty.

In addition to Maryland’s two main thoroughbred tracks, Stronach also owns Gulfstream Park in Florida, and Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields in California.

Brandon Weigel

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