Navarro Sentenced To Five Years In Federal Doping Case

December 18, 2021

Jorge Navarro weeps in open court as five year sentenced in handed down in Federal Court for doping racehorses

What happens next in the Navarro Servis cases now that Navarro has been sentenced to five years in Federal Prison

Navarro Ordered to Pay Over $26 Million in Restitution

The wheels of justice move slow, but they do move and if you wind up in the crosshairs of the US Justice Department, FBI, or US Attorney chances are you are looking at a conviction. This is why the large majority of federal cases wind up being pled, or lost at trial. The problem for any defendant in the United States is if you exercise your right to a trial, which is indeed a right afforded by our Constitution, and you lose you get what is commonly referred to within the system as a trial tax. As unconstitutional as it may be, if you lose a trial most Judges hit you with more time as a punishment for wasting the courts time. A five year sentence can easily turn into seven or even ten years if you force a trial.

Jason Servis who has a much stronger legal team representing him than Jorge Navarro did, in my opinion anyway has to be considering this factor at this point if he somehow wasn’t already. Once the wiretap evidence was allowed by the court any slim hope he had for acquittal likely left the barn so to speak, no pun intended.

In part this is what the Judge had to say to Jorge Navarro, and he began to openly weep.

“For years, Mr. Navarro, you effectively stole millions, cheating other trainers, owners and jockeys who you competed against. You also demonstrated, MR. Navarro, a collective, callous disregard for the well being of the horses. Bottom line, you likely killed or endangered horses in your care.”

I actually think she went easy on Navarro. Likely nothing, the evidence, specifically the wiretap recordings of codefendant Michael Tannuzzo state Navarro killed horses. I also think the Judge slighted all the bettors who collectively lost millions of dollars wagering on races where Navarro horses competed. Once again we see how bettors don’t count for much. The restitution ordered in this case goes to owners and trainers, zero to bettors. I’d argue bettors collectively lost the most.

Whether Navarro is deported after serving his sentence remains to be seen. It is highly probable his plea included cooperation. That means he likely spoke about all and everyone he knew did or was doing anything. It is possible no deportation was granted in exchange for that cooperation, and that is something we may never know. If you did anything with Navarro, or he knows about anything you did, you should be sleeping with one eye open.

In one of the wiretapped conversations Navarro spoke openly with someone from Rockingham Ranch in what can easily be construed as a talk between two people who were well aware of what was going on. To date no owners of any Navarro or Servis horses have been indicted. If you are a tea leave reader this leads to two possibilities. They are un-indicted coconspirators, a fancy word for cooperators, or there is not yet enough evidence to charge them. The only other possibility I see is they have not got to them just yet. Once again, sleeping with one eye open.

How tough of a time Navarro has or doesn’t have in the Federal Prison system will depend on where he is housed. The facilities can. differ greatly. He will probably be classified as low level and wind up in a minimum security camp. That doesn’t mean it is a nice place. It is luck of the draw and only the Bureau of Prisons decides where you serve your time upon intake. The Judge or US Attorney can make a request, as can your attorney, but is is up to the BOP once you are in custody. Some camps are tolerable, some horrible. The same applies to the prisons, it is luck of the draw. Some are nightmares, some doable.

Navarro was quoted by David Greenig of the Daily Racing Form as saying “when they catch everybody we’ll talk” after his sentencing. That comment was not indicative of remorse to me. Perhaps sorry he was the one who got caught, but not remorse as I see it.

US Justice Department Press Release:

NEW YORK — Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that defendants JORGE NAVARRO received a sentence of sixty months’ imprisonment today for his leading role in the felony drug misbranding and adulteration charges arising from this Office’s investigation of the abuse of animals through the use of performance enhancing drugs and as charged in United States v. Navarro et al., 20 Cr. 160 (MKV).  NAVARRO was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, who furthered ordered that NAVARRO pay $26,860,514 in restitution for the fraud perpetrated through his doping program. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “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. Standing as the keystone for this structure of abuse, corruption, and duplicity was Jorge Navarro, a trainer who treated his animals as expendable commodities in the service of his ‘sport.’ Today’s sentence appropriately condemns the danger inherent in Navarro’s crime and reflects the seriousness with which this Office takes the kind of abuse that Navarro practiced.”

According to the allegations contained in the Superseding Indictment, prior charging instruments and other filings in this case[1], and statements during court proceedings:

The charges in the Navarro case arise from an investigation of widespread schemes by racehorse trainers, veterinarians, PED distributors, and others to manufacture, distribute, and receive adulterated and misbranded PEDs and to secretly administer those PEDs to racehorses competing at all levels of professional horseracing. By evading PED prohibitions and deceiving regulators and horse racing officials, participants in these schemes sought to improve race performance and obtain prize money from racetracks throughout the United States and other countries, including in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, and the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”), all to the detriment and risk of the health and well-being of the racehorses.  Trainers, like NAVARRO, who participated in the schemes stood to profit from the success of racehorses under their control by earning a share of their horses’ winnings, and by improving their horses’ racing records, thereby yielding higher trainer fees and increasing the number of racehorses under their control. Veterinarians, including those whom NAVARRO directed in the corrupt administration of illegal substances, profited from the sale and administration of these medically unnecessary, misbranded, and adulterated substances.

NAVARRO operated his doping scheme covertly, importing misbranded “clenbuterol” that he both used and distributed to others, avoiding explicit discussion of PEDs during telephone calls, and working with others to coordinate the administration of PEDs at times that racing officials would not detect such cheating. Among the horses that NAVARRO trained and doped was X Y Jet, a thoroughbred horse that won the 2019 Golden Shaheen race in Dubai. Among NAVARRO’s preferred PEDs were various “blood building” drugs, which, when administered before intense physical exertion, can lead to cardiac issues or death.

NAVARRO’s crime was far from a single lapse in judgment. Rather, NAVARRO engaged in repeated and persistent efforts to cheat over the course of years, cycling through various sources of supply, and pursuing aggressively new means to illegally dope horses. Throughout, NAVARRO maintained a flippant attitude towards his dangerous and illegal conduct. NAVARRO, notoriously known in the horse racing world as the “Juice Man” due to his routine doping, kept a pair of customized shoes in his barn with the words “#JUICE MAN” emblazoned across the front:

Jorge Navarro’s shoes (photo courtesy of Department of Justice, Southern District of New York)

In addition to the prison sentence, NAVARRO was ordered to payment of restitution in the amount of $26,860,514, reflecting winnings obtained through his fraudulent doping scheme.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI New York Office’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force and its support of the Bureau’s Integrity in Sports and Gaming Initiative. This case is being handled by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Mortazavi, Andrew C. Adams, Benet Kearney, and Anden Chow are in charge of the prosecution.

[1] As to Navarro co-defendants, the entirety of the texts of the Indictments and the descriptions of the Indictments set forth herein constitute only allegations and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Watch Jorge Navarro and Chad Summers saddle Shancelot at Saratoga during what they thought were better times only on Past the Wire TV!

Component(s): USAO – New York, Southern

Press Release Number: 21-360

Photo of Jorge Navarro by Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Contributing Authors

Jon Stettin

Jonathan’s always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. Growing up around the game, he came about as close as anyone...

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@jonathanstettin Your article re reading when a horse dead on board made me some $ just now. Untapable was, IMO, odds-on, but dead. TY!

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