Horse racing sees day of reckoning amid doping scandal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When thoroughbred trainer Jason Servis arrived here last spring for the Kentucky Derby with undefeated colt Maximum Security, the whispers trailed after him.

Servis was juicing his horses, racetrack veterans said. Medication was inflating his winning percentage to a preposterous level. His horses may have been passing drug tests, but his rise up the racing ranks didn’t pass the smell test.

Maximum Security’s unusual career arc fit the gossip.

Servis did not race him until December 2018, and his first competition was a $16,000 maiden claiming race—which means anyone could have put in a claim beforehand to buy the horse for a bargain price. No rational trainer who thinks he has a Kentucky Derby–level two-year-old would enter a horse in a cheap claiming race. Whenever Servis was asked about it, he got defensive.

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