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Horse racing tarnishes a tradition in Sarasota Springs

The newest are the most devastating.

Trainer Jorge Navarro – on video who calls himself Juice Man – pleaded guilty to giving several performance-enhancing substances to his horses and admitting that he had given them to others. Navarro has consistently topped the Monmouth Park trainer rankings and said he has doped numerous horses, including Sharp Azteca, a Class I winner who is now a stallion.

Kristian Rhein, a veterinarian, admitted doping horses, including Maximum Security, trained by Jason Servis, who won four Class I races and was disqualified from first place for interference in the 2019 Kentucky Derby.

Servis has pleaded not guilty and denies the charges.

“Kristian Rhein and Jorge Navarro represent the supply and customer side of the market for performance enhancing substances that have corrupted much of the horse racing industry,” US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement. “Navarro, a licensed trainer and alleged ‘winner’ of major races around the world, was indeed a ruthless impostor whose success was based on the systematic abuse of the animals under his control.”

These are problems that no amount of Sepia can wash away.

The entry into force of the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act, which will come into force on July 1, 2022, gives cause for hope. The law requires a body overseen by the Federal Trade Commission to establish rules and penalties that are enforced by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. USADA regulates Olympic athletes in the United States, exposing Lance Armstrong’s fraud and imposing a life suspension in 2012.

And that’s a very modern solution.

This village of pastel colored Victorian houses could be populated by horsemen for a century or two. However, in order for this to be fulfilled, the gentlemen of horse racing must ban dopers, cheaters and animal molesters from the sport.

“An enjoyable pastime that has retained some traces of its early character as a sport in some popular places like Saratoga,” wrote Smith 67 years ago. “You’d think that something strangely valuable would die with it if Saratoga died.”

If the sport lost the rest of its credibility, the world might not have Clare Court anymore.

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