(Reuters) - The owner of Maximum Security, the colt that won the world’s richest horse race last month in Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday fired trainer Jason Servis after he was indicted in a doping scheme.
The owner replaced Servis with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
Servis was among the 27 people who were charged on Monday in a wide-ranging scheme to drug horses and cheat bettors in the $100 billion professional horse racing industry.
“Yesterday, Jason Servis, a trainer we have used for five years was indicted on multiple charges regarding using an illegal substance in horses. This news is extremely disturbing and disappointing,” Maximum Security owner Gary West said in a statement.
Servis’s lawyer Todd Onore told Reuters in an email he had no comment on the dismissal of his client.
According to U.S. prosecutors, Servis covertly administered performance-enhancing drugs to Maximum Security and “virtually all of the racehorses under his control.”
Maximum Security, who last month won the $20 million Saudi Cup, finished first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby but was later disqualified for interference. West filed an appeal but it was denied by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Baffert is one of horse racing’s most celebrated trainers and has trained Triple Crown winners American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Toby Davis