Change of plea hearing scheduled for trainer Jorge Navarro over racehorse doping
Trainer Jorge Navarro, who pleaded not guilty in April 2020 to charges involving the use of performance enhancing drugs in racehorses, has a change of plea hearing scheduled on August 11 before US Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil in the Southern District of New York.
The hearing notice, posted in online court documents on Friday, could signal a shift to a guilty plea for Navarro. Other defendants among the roughly two dozen individuals charged by prosecutors in the racehorse doping scheme have either pleaded guilty or intend to change their pleas in the coming weeks.
Along with trainer Jason Servis, Navarro is among the most prominent individuals charged in the case. Defendants are accused of contributing to the sale, use, or distribution of adulterated and misbranded performance enhancing drugs (PEDS).
According to the indictment, the two trainers were captured on federal wiretaps discussing the use of SGF-1000. Compounded and manufactured in unregistered facilities, SGF-1000 was an intravenous drug promoted as a vasodilator capable of promoting stamina, endurance, and lower heart rates through the purported action of "growth factors" supposedly derived from sheep placenta.
Servis pleaded not guilty last year. His attorney, Rita Glavin, indicated in court documents earlier this week that she intends to file a motion to suppress the wiretaps taken from her client's cellular phone.
The indictments allege Navarro and others conspired for years to drug racehorses, leading to acclaim and vast earnings for those horses. Customised PEDS were mislabeled to avoid scrutiny, were administered without Food and Drug Administration authorisation and prescriptions, and were designed to be undetectable.
Before his indictments and subsequently being barred from training by horse racing regulators, Navarro won seven leading trainer titles at Monmouth and topped the 2018-19 championship meet at Gulfstream.
In one section of Navarro's indictment, titled "Doping X Y Jet," Navarro and others were alleged to have administered PEDS to X Y Jet before his victories in a race at Gulfstream in February 2019, and Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored at Meydan the following month. X Y Jet won both races, the latter a $2.5 million event.
The indictment noted that on or about March 22, 2019, just more than a week out from the Dubai Golden Shaheen, Navarro was in the UAE with X Y Jet and personally administered various adulterated and misbranded PEDs to the horse, including a substance Navarro called "monkey."
The indictment said that substance, erythropoietin (Epogen or EPO), is a blood-builder that can increase stamina. The indictment also notes that EPO and its analogues can increase cardiac exertion and pressure and lead to cardiac issues, including death. Navarro announced in January last year that X Y Jet had died at age eight from a heart attack.
In other court documents filed Friday, Vyskocil denied multiple motions brought forth by defendants, including a motion to dismiss the indictment.
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