Jason Servis, the disgraced trainer of star-crossed champion Maximum Security, has been sentenced to four years in prison for his role in a yearslong scheme of abusing racehorses through the use of performance enhancing drugs.
The maximum sentence based on the charges was delivered on Wednesday (July 26) by United States District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil in New York.
Servis, 66, is the most well-known of more than two dozen people indicted on horse doping charges in March 2020. Trainer Jorge Navarro was sentenced last year to five years in prison for his role in the scheme.
“Today’s sentence sends a clear signal to those in the racehorse industry that no one is above the law. Endangering the welfare of animals for profit will not be tolerated,’’ U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement. “Illegally doping racehorses is a serious crime that will be met with a serious sentence.”
Servis, whose horses won 1,306 races with earnings of more than $52 million over a career that began in 2001 ($11 million in 2019 alone), broke down in tears when addressing the court: “I will live with this for the rest of my life, and I’m most truly sorry.’’
He later said: “No words can express how remorseful and sorry I am for the decisions I’ve made and the hurt I caused my wife and others.”
In her ruling, Vyskocil said: “In my judgment, more than a 48-month sentence might be more appropriate. I do accept your expression of remorse. Relatively speaking, you’re not an old man. You will have a life after you get out of prison.”
Servis was given three years for the felony charges and one year for a misdemeanor for his role in a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and administer adulterated or misbranded performance-enhancing drugs to “virtually all of the racehorses under his control.” His jail term is to begin Nov. 1.
Authorities said Servis gave Maximum Security a PED called SGF-1000, recommended it to another trainer and conspired with a veterinarian to make it look like a false positive for another substance.
Maximum Security was by far the best horse of Servis’ career. As a 3-year-old in 2019, the colt finished first in six of his seven starts, including the Kentucky Derby (G1). However, he was disqualified to 17th for interference with several horses in the stretch.
In 2020, prior to the bombshell charges against Servis and others, Maximum Security won the $20 million Saudi Cup – the first-place prize of $10 million has yet to be dispersed pending a final ruling by Saudi racing officials. After his arrest in March 2022, racing authorities suspended Servis’ license, and the horse was sent to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
In addition to the prison term, Servis was sentenced to one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $311,760 in forfeiture, $163,932 in restitution, and a $30,000 fine.
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.