FBI conducts 2 South Florida raids in probe of ‘widespread’ scheme to dope racehorses

Agents search for evidence at horse barns in Miami Gardens, Boynton Beach

Jason Servis, trainer of Maximum Security #7, waits for a inquiry result after the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 04, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Maximum Security #7, ridden by Luis Saez, comes out of turn four during the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 30, 2019 in Hallandale, Florida. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

MIAMI – FBI agents conducted raids on Monday morning at the Palm Meadows Thoroughbred Training Center in Boynton Beach and Gulfstream Park West, also known as the Calder Casino, in Miami Gardens in connection with an investigation into what agents say is a “widespread" scheme to dope racehorses.

FBI agents searched the barns and stalls of the facilities operated by The Stronach Group and occupied by Jason Servis, a famous trainer, and Jorge Navarro, who are among the 27 people who were indicted in the Southern District of New York case.

The Stronach Group, which is not included in the indictment, released a statement distancing from Servis and Navarro on Monday afternoon saying the organization is at the forefront of industry-leading reforms to protect the integrity of the horseracing sport.

“There is no room in our sport for anyone who does not prioritize the health and well-being of horses and riders,” the statement said.

Prosecutors accuse Servis of “covertly obtaining and administering adulterated and misbranded” performance-enhancing drugs that are intended to be “difficult or impossible” to detect. Prosecutors did not name the horses in the indictment.

Maximum Security is washed in a barn area in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) (2019 Getty Images)

Servis’ stable includes Maximum Security, the American Thoroughbred racehorse with major wins this year at the Saudi Cup and last year at the Florida Derby, Haskell Invitational, Bold Ruler Handicap and Cigar Mile.

Horse trainer Nicholas Surick is also facing charges. According to Equibase, Servis has earned about $52.2 million, Navarro has earned about $34.88 million and Surick has earned about $110,000 during their careers.

The indictment also veterinarians Erica Garcia, Seth Fishman, Gregory Skelton, and Kristian Rhein. Marcos Zulueta, Michael Tannuzzo, Ross Cohen, Lisa Giannelli, Jordan Fishman, Rick Dane Jr., Christopher Oakes, Michael Kegley Jr., Alexander Chan, Henry Argueta, Rebecca Linke, and Christopher Marino are also being accused of being involved in the scheme.

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The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.