A FLORIDA veterinary surgeon is facing the possibility of up to 20 years in jail having been found guilty this week of manufacturing and administering illegal performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) for racehorses.
The trial took place in New York and follows last year’s sentencing of trainer Jorge Navarro to five years in prison for his use of PEDs. Navarro pleaded guilty but this week’s verdict was returned by a jury who only deliberated for three hours following an 11-day trial.
Dr Seth Fishman (50) becomes the second person to have been convicted arising from a long-running FBI-led investigation into the use of illegal drugs in New York racing. Navarro and nine others charged with related offences pleaded guilty. Trainer Jason Servis is among those who have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.
Prosecutors presented evidence at Fishman’s trial showing that the trainer paid Fishman tens of thousands of dollars for PEDs, including a substance called BB3 that prosecutors say thickens a horse’s blood to make it run faster and farther.
The evidence against Fishman included witness testimony, emails and texts, and wiretap recordings that captured Fishman talking about doping horses, and bragging that his drugs wouldn’t appear in post-race testing.
Prosecutors also showed the jury thousands of vials of drugs seized from Fishman’s Florida company Equestology.
As part of their case, prosecutors also played for the jury video of Navarro’s X Y Jet winning the $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen in 2019. “Thank you boss, (you’re) a big part of it,” Navarro said in a text exchange with Fishman just after the race.
The horse died of a reported heart attack a year later.
Fishman, who was not in court this week and may be unwell, is due to be sentenced on May 5th.