NEW YORK - More than two dozen horse trainers, veterinarians and others have been charged in what authorities describe as a widespread international scheme to drug horses to race faster.
The charges were detailed in four indictments unveiled Monday in Manhattan federal court. Charges brought against 27 individuals include drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy.
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U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman scheduled a news conference to discuss the charges, which allegedly affected races in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky and the United Arab Emirates.
Authorities said participants in the fraud misled government agencies, including federal and state regulators, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, various state horse racing regulators and the betting public.
Prosecutors noted in the indictments that professional horse racing is a $100 billion industry followed by millions of fans worldwide, leading racehorses to sell at auction for well over $1 million.
According to the indictments, marketers and distributors of drugs known as “blood builders” to stimulate a horse's endurance have infiltrated the horse racing industry for at least the last decade.
Authorities say the drugs can cause horses to overexert themselves, leading to heart issues or death.
The indictments said other drugs used to deaden a horse's sensitivity to pain to improve the horse's performance could also lead to leg fractures.