Regulator testing hair of horses from indicted trainers Navarro and Servis
Vet records collected by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) are playing a key role as regulatory veterinarians use hair samples to examine horses formerly trained by Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis, while Florida's Gulfstream Park this week has accepted entries for horses formerly conditioned by the two indicted trainers.
In March Navarro and Servis were indicted on federal charges related to the administration of performance-enhancing drugs in their horses. Before those horses are allowed to return to racing there, the New York regulator is looking at hair samples from the runners.
During a Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation online weekly seminar on Tuesday, NYSGC equine medical director Scott Palmer talked about the importance of having the previous vet records as they examine the hair samples.
"We're doing quite a bit of hair testing on horses that have been in the custody and control of trainers indicted for alleged use of illegal [substances]," Palmer said. "We're compiling a large number of test results on these horses."
While the New York regulator gathers that information, it is requiring owners provide vet records of the horses from December 2019 until the day they had their hair test done. Palmer added that if such records are not willingly provided, the regulator will issue a subpoena for such records.
"What we're going to be doing is comparing those medical records, or treatment records, with our test results. If everything lines up, then there's no problem whatsoever," Palmer said.
"But if we have evidence of a prescription drug in a horse and there is no prescription, or no veterinary record that a vet even gave them the drug, then that represents an area of exposure for that trainer for regulatory action."
When a horse is determined to be free of any such illegal substances, Palmer said the owner will be informed that the horse has been removed from the vet's list and is free to again compete. He said the regulator is still relatively early in the process.
Belmont is scheduled to resume racing on June 3. Meanwhile, Gulfstream will allow some horses formerly trained by the indicted trainers to race this week.
Admiral Lynch, who was previously trained by Servis, and Cowboy Culture, previously trained by Navarro, are entered to race at Gulfstream.
While tracks and regulators are using hair tests to search for any indication of illegal substances, it should be noted that state regulatory bodies never called a single positive from a post-race test or an out-of competition test for any of the substances the federal indictments accuse the trainers of using.
The three horses entered on Thursday and Friday have each been working regularly and each has worked at least once this month.
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