US trainer Jorge Navarro admits to role in global horse doping scheme

Navarro could face five years in prison and has agreed to pay $25.9m in restitution

Prosecutors said Jorge Navarro regularly drugged X Y Jet, pictured under jockey Emisael Jaramillo during the 2019 Dubai World Cup at Meydan. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty

Prosecutors said Jorge Navarro regularly drugged X Y Jet, pictured under jockey Emisael Jaramillo during the 2019 Dubai World Cup at Meydan. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty

 

A prominent horse racing trainer pleaded guilty on Wednesday to involvement in what US prosecutors have called a global scheme to systematically drug horses and cheat the betting public.

Jorge Navarro admitted in federal court in Manhattan to involvement in a conspiracy to administer performance-enhancing drugs to horses, in order to win more prize money at racetracks.

He could face five years in prison at his December 17th sentencing and agreed to pay $25.9 million in restitution, reflecting winnings tied to doping. US District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil accepted Navarro’s plea.

“As he admitted today, Navarro, a licensed trainer and the purported ‘winner’ of major races across the world, was in fact a reckless fraudster whose veneer of success relied on the systematic abuse of the animals under his control,” US Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan said in a statement.

Jason Kreiss, Navarro’s lawyer, said in an email the trainer accepted responsibility for his actions.

At last 31 trainers, veterinarians, drug distributors and others have been charged since March 2020 over alleged doping affecting races in New York, Kentucky, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio and the United Arab Emirates.

Seven defendants have pleaded guilty and one entered a deferred prosecution agreement, court records show.

Other defendants include Jason Servis, the trainer of Maximum Security, which appeared to win the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified for interference.

That horse also won the $20 million Saudi Cup, the world’s richest horse race, before Servis was charged.

Servis is seeking to suppress a variety of wiretap evidence, including from Navarro’s phone. Rita Glavin, a lawyer for Servis, declined to comment.

Navarro’s career winnings total $34.9 million, led by $3 million for the gelding X Y Jet, according to racing industry database provider Equibase.

Prosecutors said Navarro regularly drugged that horse, including with a substance he called “monkey,” in March 2019 before it won the Dubai Golden Shaheen, collecting $1.5 million.

X Y Jet died of an apparent heart attack in January 2020.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.