TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the New Jersey Racing Commission announced today that the State has suspended the horse racing licenses of seven New Jersey license holders indicted in connection with an alleged international conspiracy to dope horses with performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
Acting in accordance with New Jersey Racing Commission Rules, Racing Commission Executive Director Judith A. Nason sent letters notifying the indicted New Jersey license-holders of their immediate suspensions on Tuesday. The seven include: Jason Servis of Jupiter, Fla.; Nicholas Surick of Jackson, N.J.; Dr. Rebecca Linke of Farmingdale, N.J; Scott Mangini of Boca Raton, Fla.; Scott Robinson of Wesley Chapel, Fla.; Christopher Marino of Howell, N.J; and Rick Dane, Jr. of Port Jervis, N.Y.
The New Jersey licensees were among 27 people whose federal indictments were unsealed earlier this week. Each of the seven, including several horse trainers and a veterinarian, allegedly played a role in a doping ring that involved the manufacture, adulteration and misbranding of PEDs, as well as the administering of those illegal drugs to horses.
“Here in New Jersey, we are committed to ensuring the integrity of horse racing, and we have a robust system in place to ensure the fairness of races, the legitimacy of the outcomes and the safety of the participants,” said Attorney General Grewal. “However, there are sometimes unfortunate instances in which individuals choose to break the rules and try to game the system — in the racing industry generally and in New Jersey. Fortunately, these alleged unethical and deceitful practices did not go undetected, and the perpetrators will be held accountable for their actions.”
“PEDs cheat the wagering public and harm horses, and our highest priority is to keep them out of New Jersey’s racing industry,” said Racing Commission Executive Director Judith A. Nason.
“The Attorney General and the Racing Commission have no tolerance for those who would seek to profit through the use of chemical advantage, especially when doing so might endanger equine welfare,” Nason said.
Under rules governing New Jersey’s horse racing industry, an indictment alleging criminal activity directly related to the racing industry – in New Jersey or another jurisdiction – is grounds for immediate license suspension.
In announcing the immediate license suspensions today, Attorney General Grewal noted that the action is consistent with the State’s ongoing commitment to ensuring the integrity of horse racing in New Jersey, and the wellbeing of its participants.
As part of that commitment, he noted, the Racing Commission employs “Shadow,” a specially trained Black Labrador who is one of the nation’s first drug-sniffing dogs assigned specifically to detect PEDs at racetracks.
In addition, the Racing Commission introduced proposed rules last fall aimed at strengthening equine welfare and safety. One of those rules would restrict the use of a riding crop on thoroughbred horses, while another would authorize the Racing Commission to cancel or postpone races when dangerous conditions exist. Another would expand reporting requirements in the wake of an equine death to enable the Racing Commission to identify factors that may have contributed to the fatality.
Attorney General Grewal and Executive Director Nason noted that New Jersey has in place stringent blood and urine testing protocols, strong regulatory oversight mechanisms and a comprehensive licensing scheme, as well as “a variety of investigative tools at our disposal to detect and rectify instances where rules are violated, animals are abused or laws are broken.”
According to the federal indictments unsealed this week, New Jersey licensee and racehorse trainer Servis allegedly administered a variety of PEDs to “virtually all horses under his control,” and between 2018 and 2020 entered horses in more than 1,000 races at tracks around the world. Surick, another New-Jersey-licensed trainer, allegedly obtained and administered illegal PEDs – including one “customized” PED known as “red acid” – to horses under his control. Veterinarian Linke allegedly supplied misbranded and adulterated PEDs to Surick, as well as creating false medical and pharmaceutical records to conceal the illegal activity.
Indicted New Jersey licensee Mangini, a pharmacist, allegedly worked with defendant and New Jersey licensee Robinson to manufacture and distribute misbranded and adulterated PEDs. New-Jersey-licensed horse trainer Dane allegedly purchased and helped distribute PEDs, while assistant trainer Marino allegedly received and administered PEDs.