Untestable Doping Programs the Key to Many Winning Horse Racing Trainers

The indicted trainers include Jason Servis, a thoroughbred trainer who in 2019 won $29 million in purses for himself and his owners at New York tracks; Michael Tannuzzo, who trained thoroughbred horses in New York; and standardbred trainers Rene Allard, Richard Banca and Conor Flynn, who kept their horses in Middletown. All of those trainers have pleaded not guilty to federal charges and are awaiting trial.

The case also brought charges against veterinarian Kristian Rhein, who practiced at Belmont Park; Alexander Chan, who worked for the New York Racing Association as an examining veterinarian from 2012 to 2015; and distributor Lisa Giannelli, who allegedly shipped drugs to trainers and other racing participants around the state. Gianelli and Chan pleaded not guilty, while Rhein pled guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Allard, through his attorney, denied the allegations made against him. Banca’s attorney said he declined to speak to the Times Union and would vigorously fight the allegations. Attorneys for the other indicted individuals named in this story declined to comment or did not respond.

Thoroughbred trainers Navarro and Tannuzzo never had a positive drug violation in New York prior to their arrests, Gaming Commission data shows. Servis had one in 2005.

Standardbred trainer Banca had three positive drug violations in New York in the 11 years prior to his arrest, Gaming Commission data shows. Allard and Flynn each had one.

Asked why the performance-enhancing drugs described in the federal indictments were not caught by his tests, Maylin said he can test for some of those drugs, but not all. He is not familiar with some of the compounds described the indictments, and therefore cannot test for them. He has requested samples of those drugs from the Justice Department…

More on the horse racing doping programs from the Times Union (Saratoga, NY)