doping

Drug Company's Sales Director Pleads Guilty in Horse Racing Doping Scheme: NY Feds

Participants in the alleged scheme sought to improve race performance and obtain prize money from racetracks throughout the United States and other countries, including in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, and the UAE

What to Know

  • A drug company's sales director pled guilty Friday in Manhattan federal court to his role in a horse racing doping scheme.
  • Michael Kegley Jr. pled guilty to distributing adulterated and misbranded drugs with the intent to defraud and mislead, in connection with the charges filed in United States v. Navarro et al.
  • This guilty plea comes at the heels of a horse racing doping scandal that rocked the sport a couple of months ago when Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit's failed a drug test. Additionally, this latest development was announced the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, where the equestrian competitions are back once again.

A drug company's sales director pled guilty Friday in Manhattan federal court to his role in a horse racing doping scheme

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Michael Kegley Jr. pled guilty to distributing adulterated and misbranded drugs with the intent to defraud and mislead, in connection with the charges filed in United States v. Navarro et al.

Kelgley, who worked as the director of sales for an unregistered distributor of equine drugs, will be sentenced on Nov. 22.

According to the allegations contained in court documents, the charges in the Navarro case arise from an investigation of widespread schemes by racehorse trainers, veterinarians, performance-enhancing drug (“PED”) distributors, and others to manufacture, distribute, and receive adulterated and misbranded PEDs and to secretly administer those PEDs to racehorses competing at all levels of professional horseracing.

Allegedly, participants in the scheme sought to improve race performance and obtain prize money from racetracks throughout the United States and other countries, including in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, and the UAE, despite the risk of the health and well-being of the racehorses. 

Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test taken right after the Kentucky Derby, and if the results are confirmed in a second sample, it will be disqualified as the winner. NBC New York's Greg Cergol reports.

According to court documents, the trainers who participated in the scheme profited from the success of racehorses under their control by earning a share of their horses’ winnings, and by improving their horses’ racing records, they netted higher trainer fees and increased the number of racehorses under their control.

Prosecutors say that veterinarians and drug distributors profited from the sale and administration of these medically unnecessary, misbranded, and adulterated substances.

Among the misbranded and adulterated PEDs marketed and sold by Kegley was the drug “SGF-1000,” which was manufactured in unregistered facilities. SGF-1000 was an intravenous drug promoted as being capable of promoting stamina, endurance, and lower heart rates in horses through the purported action of “growth factors” supposedly derived from sheep placenta.

Despite marketing, selling, and administering SGF-1000, Kegley acknowledged in intercepted calls that he, along with a co-defendant involved in the sale of SGF-1000, did not know the actual contents of SGF-1000. Nevertheless, Kegley’s sales continued and further claimed that SGF-1000 would be untestable in horses by law enforcement.

“Michael Kegley promoted and sold unregulated performance-enhancing substances intended for use by those engaged in fraud and unconscionable animal abuse in the world of professional horseracing," Strauss said in a statement. "This conviction underscores that our Office and our partners at the FBI are committed to the prosecution and investigation of corruption, fraud, and endangerment at every level of the horse racing industry.”

This guilty plea comes at the heels of a horse racing doping scandal that rocked the sport a couple of months ago when Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit's failed a drug tests.

Additionally, this latest development was announced the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, where the equestrian competitions are back once again.

The daughter of rock-and-roll legend Bruce Springsteen and New Jersey native will be making her first Olympic debut on the jumping team along with Laura Kraut, McLain Ward and Kent Farrington.

The sport's Team USA will have a famous face competing at the Tokyo Olympics.

Jessica Springsteen is among four equestrians who have made the U.S. Olympics team.

The daughter of rock-and-roll legend Bruce Springsteen and New Jersey native will be making her first Olympic debut on the jumping team along with Laura Kraut, McLain Ward and Kent Farrington.

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