NEW YORK — A racehorse trainer pleaded guilty in New York Wednesday to charges related to a scheme to give horses performance enhancing drugs so they perform better.
Jorge Navarro entered the plea in Manhattan federal court, where sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 17.
Navarro was charged last year along with over two dozen others in a crackdown by federal authorities on what they described as a widespread international scheme to speed up horses with drugs.
In a release, U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss called Navarro a “reckless fraudster.”
Navarro was charged in a case that resulted in the arrests of trainers, veterinarians, drug distributors and others who benefitted from horses successfully competing at racetracks throughout the country, including in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky and the United Arab Emirates.
Prosecutors said the horses that Navarro trained and doped included “XY Jet,” a thoroughbred that won the 2019 Gold Shaheen race in Dubai. The horse died last year of an apparent heart attack.
As part of his plea, Navarro agreed to pay restitution of over $25 million, reflecting winnings obtained through doping, prosecutors said.
A message seeking comment was sent to Navarro’s lawyer.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Arabian Knight is off the Kentucky Derby trail.
Wagering has been suspended on the 3-year-old colt for the Derby’s future wager after owner Amr Zedan announced the decision. Arabian Knight was the second choice on the morning line behind favorite Forte for the May 6 race.
“Trainer Tim Yakteen wasn’t happy with his last work & we feel it’s in Arabian Knight’s best interest not to rush & allow him more time to develop,” Zedan tweeted. “We know he’s a superior talent & our plan is to point him toward a summer and fall campaign.”
Purchased for $2.3 million as a 2-year-old, Arabian Knight won his debut by 7 1/4 lengths at Keeneland last November. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest at Oaklawn in January and won by 5 1/2 lengths.
Arabian Knight had his third workout at Santa Anita.
TAMPA, Fla. — Tapit Trice rallied from last to win the $360,000 Tampa Bay Derby by two lengths and earn qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.
Ridden by Luis Saez, Tapit Trice ran 1 1/16 miles 1:43.37. The 1-2 favorite in the field of 12 paid $3 to win. The 3-year-old colt earned 50 qualifying points, which places him in the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby on May 6.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher extended his record for most wins in the Grade 3 race to six. He already has the early Kentucky Derby favorite in Forte, who won the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream last weekend.
Classic Car Wash was second and Classic Legacy was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.
Tapit Trice was making his stakes debut after winning two of three starts.
“Once he got clear down the lane, he really extended himself,” Pletcher said. ”I loved the way he finished up. He relished the two turns, and the longer he goes, the better he’ll get.”