Second vet pleads guilty in horse doping case

When Dr. Seth Fishman was convicted in February of “drug fraud and misrepresentation, with intent to defraud and misrepresent” in a horse racing doping scandal two years ago, Meadowlands racetrack owner Jeff Jural expressed only partial relief. Goral said another shoe to be dropped will be Luis Grasso, the vet who has been charged with similar crimes.

On Wednesday, the boot had already been dropped: Grasso pleaded guilty to one count of distributing the wrong drugs to improve a racehorse’s performance. Grasso is scheduled to be sentenced on September 6.

Grassau and [trainer Richard] US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement that Banca represents the corruption and greed of those in the racehorse industry who are looking to win at any cost. Banca, who also recently pleaded guilty, is due to be sentenced on the same day.

Williams’ statement continued, “By selling illegal drugs and selling prescriptions to corrupt trainers, Gracco has abdicated his responsibilities as a medical professional to ensure the safety and health of the racehorses he ‘treats’.”

“By injecting horses with unnecessary, and at times, unknown drugs, Grasso has risked the lives and welfare of the animals in his care, all in the service of helping corrupt racehorse trainers like Banca fill their pockets through fraud.”

Grasso has been found to have created, distributed, and administered customized performance-enhancing drugs that have helped coaches raise more than $47 million in false positives over several years.

Gural, along with The Jockey Club, for four years funded a private investigation that led to the federal government’s investigation into the national horse doping scandal. He also banned several coaches he suspected of cheating, and the courts upheld his right to do so.

Banca, who was banned from the Meadowlands racetrack five years ago, was one of the leading coaches at Yonkers Raceway.

I heard on the wire

Some of the most exciting excerpts from among the dozens of indictments issued by the federal government in March 2020 appeared on Grasso.

Grasso — who was a licensed veterinarian in New Jersey and New York — allegedly used vials of cobra venom as pain relievers for horses, with investigators intercepting a call between vet and trainer Thomas Guido talking about a recent death. horse.

“Guido told Grasso about a horse that had died and had been given a drug similar to the blood generator,” US Attorney Jeffrey Berman said of a wiretapped conversation in October 2019. Grassau was not surprised. He said: This is happening. Maybe I over-squeezed it. I’ve seen it happen 20 times.”

In the indictment against Grasso, he was described as a key figure in the belt racing world in the manufacture and distribution of mis-branded PEDs that were given to horses. The government also accused Grasso of handing over units of PEDs to the Musketeers.

The central products were ‘epogen’ and ‘red acid’ – the latter being said to be particularly effective at reducing arthritis.

Other high-profile convictions were issued last year, including that of seven-time leading Monmouth Park coach Jorge Navarro, who was sentenced in December to five years in prison.

Photo: shutterstock

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