Note: As a former attorney, it’s necessary to include the disclaimer that these are just allegations. Nothing has been proven in a court of law and this is one side of the story. As compelling as the evidence seems, it is just allegations at this point.
This morning the FBI raided the barns of Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro in South Florida. Servis and Navarro are longtime horse trainers, Servis most notably trained Maximum Security who was disqualified after finishing first in the Kentucky Derby and most recently won the inaugural Saudi cup. The allegations in the indictment include drugging horses, procuring and miss labeling illegal performance-enhancing drugs, as well as distribution of said drugs.
This is undoubtedly a sad day for horse racing. In a sport that has had far more downs than ups recently this may be the lowest point. These are two high-level, well-known trainers who are now in federal custody for their treatment of their horses including well-known horses like Maximum Security and Navarro‘s XY Jet. XY Jet won the Dubai sprint and unfortunately passed away earlier this year.
While the allegations will certainly bring a negative light to a sport that needs no more of that treatment, those of us who care about the sport of horse racing can only hope that this will finally bring about the change that has long been needed. Most people involved in horseracing care deeply about the sport and the animals and people involved in racing. It’s time that we do more than pay lipservice to that idea. It’s time for action to be taken and people like Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro need to be rooted out, exposed, and banned from participating in the sport.
Horse racing is a sport that recently has been in the news for all the wrong reasons and this news today will certainly continue that trend. This needs to be taken as a moment and a turning point where things change. We can’t tolerate trainers who are willing to drug horses and endanger their lives and the lives of jockeys. As the betting public we can’t tolerate people who are going to cheat and manipulate races. This is a great sport and has been for hundreds of years and hopefully will continue to be for hundreds of years into the future. But if we want the sport to continue prosper and grow things have to change. The behavior of those like Servis and Navarro cannot be tolerated. Turning a blind eye to bad behavior in horse racing is no longer an option.
My sincere hope is that horse racing is able to flourish moving forward with trainers who do the right thing and owners who care about their horses and care about those involved in the sport. It is truly a great sport and one that is loved by millions of people around the world but the time for change is long overdue and hopefully today’s events will help to spur that change.