Maximum Security owner fires indicted trainer

Horse Racing

Maximum Security was moved from trainer Jason Servis to Bob Baffert on Tuesday after Servis was indicted Monday and charged with administering performance-enhancing drugs to that horse and others.

Servis was one of 27 horse racing professionals charged by federal authorities in what authorities described as a widespread international scheme to drug horses to make them race faster.

“Yesterday, Jason Servis, a trainer we have used for 5 years, was indicted on multiple charges regarding using an illegal substance in horses. This news is extremely disturbing and disappointing,” Gary West, the owner of Maximum Security, said in a statement. “Therefore we will be moving all our horses from Jason Servis as soon as arrangements can be made with other trainers. Maximum Security will be sent to Bob Baffert.”

In the indictment, Servis is charged with giving Maximum Security a performance-enhancing drug called SGF-1000, recommending it to another trainer and conspiring with a veterinarian to make it look like a false positive for another substance. The other trainer, Jorge Navarro, is also among those charged.

Maximum Security crossed the finish line first at the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified for interference and has since won four of his five high-profile races.

Maximum Security on Feb. 29 won the world’s richest race, the $10 million Saudi Cup.

Servis is alleged to have given performance-enhancing drugs to “virtually all the racehorses under his control.” He entered horses in races approximately 1,082 times from 2018 through February 2020, according to authorities.

Authorities said the drugs can cause horses to overexert themselves, leading to heart issues or death. According to the indictments, other drugs used to deaden a horse’s sensitivity to pain to improve the horse’s performance could lead to leg fractures.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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