Jorge Navarro, the US horse trainer who trained more than 1000 racing horses, was fined over $25 million and sentenced to five years in prison for doping horses for financial gain.
The trainer pleaded guilty in August 2021 to intentionally give or directing others to give, banned performance-enhancing drugs to his horses over four years. Sentencing Judge Mary Kay Vsykocil of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York said to him: “For years, Mr Navarro, you effectively stole millions, cheating other trainers, owners and jockeys you competed against…You also demonstrated a collective, callous disregard for the well-being of the horses…The bottom line is you likely killed or endangered the horses in your care.”
X Y Jet, the horse forced to race in the 2019 Dubai Golden Shaheen who happened to run faster than the others, died in January 2020 from a heart attack, possibly because of the drugs he was given by Navarro — but everyone else who forced him to run against his will should be made responsible too.
In his trial, the prosecuting federal government wrote this in its sentencing letter (which shows how calls for the abolition of horseracing are well-founded): “Jorge Navarro’s case reflects failings, greed, and corruption at virtually every level of the world of professional horse racing. For money and fame, corrupt trainers went to increasing extremes to dope horses under their care. Unscrupulous owners, who stood to profit directly, encouraged and pressured trainers to win at any cost. Veterinarians sworn to the care and protection of their patients routinely violated their oaths in service of corrupt trainers and to line their own pockets. Assistants and grooms all witnessed animal abuse in the service of greed, but did little to stop such conduct, and engaged in myriad ways to support notoriously corrupt trainers. Structures designed for the protection of the horses abused in this case failed repeatedly; fixtures of the industry — owners, veterinarians, and trainers — flouted rules and disregarded their animals’ health while hypocritically incanting a love for the horses under their control and ostensible protection.”