Two current trainers testified on Thursday during Dr. Seth Fishman that they raced horses with illegal performance-enhancing drugs that came from the accused vet.
The testimonies of Adrienne Hall and Jamen Davidovich shed light on the seventh day of Fishman’s trial for forgery and conspiracy. Fishman was one of 27 people charged in the case and is the first to face charges. The suspects include two prominent trainers: Jason Servis, who is awaiting trial, and Jorge Navarro, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Hall, of Monroe, NJ, trains horses at the Sunshine Meadows harness course in Florida and last rode a standardbred in New Jersey last month.
Davidovich, also an owner, raced mostly in the Mid-Atlantic in 2020-21. He started in New York and Ohio this year and says he now approaches the sport more as a hobby.
Both told the judges of eight women and four men how they came into contact with Fishman in 2017 and 2018 with the sole intention of obtaining PEDs that would not show up in post-race testing.
“His reputation predated him,” said Davidovich, 31, of Pennsylvania.
Hall testified that Fishman gave her a PED called VO2 Max, which she used to christen a horse and win a harness race in March 2019. Prosecutors have provoked a statement that VO2 Max increases oxygen levels in horses, making them faster. and can run longer but are at risk to their safety and well-being.
The jury heard part of an FBI wiretapping that excited Hall to tell Fishman about first place.
“I wish you could have seen the race,” Hall tells the vet. “He was so fantastic. He dominated. He was a completely different animal. I was so happy.”
Hall added that the horse’s last quarter time was 27 seconds.
“What is it usually?” asks Fishman.
“Usually it’s :28 or :29 and struggling,” she responds.
Hall testified that the PEDs were a gift from Fishman. She said she believed this to be the case because Fishman wanted her to put him in touch with two trainers she knew.
One of those trainers was Todd Pletcher, the Hall of Famer who runs a large stable.
His name was revealed under cross-examination by Fishman attorney Maurice Sercarz.
Prosecutor Sarah Mortazavi, who initially questioned Hall, never asked Hall to reveal the names during her direct questioning.
At the beginning of her direct testimony, Hall had said that before she received her trainer’s license, she worked on two thoroughbred ranches and for Petcher’s stable in an administrative position, not with horses.
Hall told Sercarz that although she told Fishman she would contact Pletcher, she never did.
Mortazavi then asked why that was when she questioned the witness again.
“He would never take my advice or opinion,” Hall testified, referring to Pletcher. “I would never approach him about anything like that.”
Hall sat on the witness stand and testified against Fishman as part of a non-prosecution agreement with prosecutors. They agreed not to prosecute her for doping horses.
Davidovich testified without such an agreement. Instead, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify and was subsequently forced to testify by Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil under an immunity grant. Under immunity, a witness cannot be charged with crimes he or she admits.
However, Hall and Davidovich may face sanctions from regulators after their testimony. Servis and Navarro have been suspended from racing, as have other indicted individuals.
Davidovich told the jury that Fishman started supplying him with PEDs after a meeting at a sushi bar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He said there was a third person at the meeting, a person he described as “my owner.”
When asked by Prosecutor Anden Chow how the subject of PEDs came up, Davidovich replied, “We talked about several things to help the horse run better.”
Davidovich said that when they got to know each other, Fishman complained to him about Navarro. Prosecutors say Fishman was one of Navarro’s suppliers of banned PEDS.
“He said that Navarro owed him a lot of money, and that if he didn’t pay, he would fire him,” the witness testified. “He also said he didn’t want (Navarro) to take down the whole ship because he had a loud mouth.”
Davidovich said Fishman was referring to a video shot in Monmouth Park in which Navarro and one of his owners bragged after winning a race that Navarro was the “Juice Man.”
Davidovich said he stopped baptizing horses in 2018 after meeting Dr. Steve Allday, a well-known thoroughbred veterinarian.
“He was the first person in the company to take me under his wing and teach me a different way of being involved in horse racing,” he testified.
He added: “I know what I did was wrong, and I wanted to move on in a different way.”
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