View From The Eighth Pole: Soul Searching, Restitution In Order For Owners Who Supported Jorge Navarro's Stable - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

View From The Eighth Pole: Soul Searching, Restitution In Order For Owners Who Supported Jorge Navarro’s Stable

From Jan. 1, 2016, through March 8, 2020, trainer Jorge Navarro won 741 races from 2,468 starts. That's a win percentage of an unfathomable 30%.

The owners of those runners earned $24,360,514 in purse money.

That's 741 wins and millions of dollars in first-place money that, in my opinion, rightfully belongs to someone else. The judge who sentenced Navarro to five years in prison agrees. She has ordered Navarro to pay restitution of $25,860,514, an amount he surely doesn't have unless the owners who benefited from his cheating are willing to fork it over.

Here's just a few examples.

There's the $180,000 that Lael Stable should have received for a win by the stable's Divining Rod in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park in 2017. The Arnaud Delacour runner had to settle for $60,000 after finishing second behind what we can only assume was a juiced Sharp Azteca, who raced for the Gelfenstein Farm of Ivan Rodriguez. Divining Rod, a son of Tapit, was deprived of a G2 win, something that also would have had ripple effects on the catalogue page of his family female.

Another horse cheated out of a graded stakes win by Sharp Azteca was Brittlyn Stable's Forevamo, trained at the time by Al Stall. The Uncle Mo gelding finished second in the G3 Pat Day Mile Stakes at Churchill Downs in 2016. He would have earned $141,050 for first place but instead received just $45,500. His owner didn't get the glory of standing in the Churchill Downs winner's circle with the Hall of Fame jockey for whom the race is named or get new hardware for their trophy case.

It is about the money, but it isn't JUST about the money.

I learned that from Josie Martino, who with husband Salvatore Delfino raced Wildcat Red in the colors of their Honors Stable Corp. The son of D'Wildcat won six of 22 starts for trainer Jose Garoffalo, including the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park in 2014.

Two years later, Wildcat Red finished second in the Sunshine Millions Sprint Stakes at the South Florida track, earning $29,100. The winner of the $90,210 first-place prize was X Y Jet, who at the time was racing for Gelfenstein Farm and trained by Navarro. The trainer would later admit to injecting the horse with illegal performance enhancing drugs.

X Y Jet dropped dead two months before Navarro was taken into custody as part of the sweeping FBI investigation that led to indictments against more than two dozen trainers, veterinarians and drug suppliers.

No owners have been charged, though those who gave horses to Navarro to train may have benefited the most from his cheating.

Martino and Delfino hit it big with Wildcat Red, a $30,000 OBS 2-year-old purchase who earned $1.1 million in 22 starts. He was one of the first horses campaigned by their small stable. Yet even with the horse's success, Martino said in a phone call to the Paulick Report, she and her husband feel cheated by having to compete against a juiced Navarro runner in the Sunshine Millions. “We are speaking out in Red's honor,” said Martino, an admitted animal lover who was stunned by Navarro's callous treatment of horses. “Red can't talk, but he deserves to be heard. What happened wasn't right and it wasn't fair to the horse.”

In virtually every one of the 741 races won by Navarro from 2016-'20, there are similar stories of horses, owners, trainers and jockeys being deprived of a victory and higher purse money. It might be a claiming race or a stakes, on dirt or turf, in New York, New Jersey or Florida. Cheating is cheating at any level.

The owners of horses trained by Navarro who gained financially by his serial doping might benefit  from some serious soul searching. If it's only about winning, if that's why they sent horses to someone so brazen that he had a customized pair of shoes with #juiceman printed on them in big letters, this game would be better off without them. It will survive.

In the now-famous video filmed at Monmouth Park in the summer of 2017, when Navarro and one of his owners, Randal Gindi of Monster Racing Stables, joked about Navarro being the “juiceman,” the trainer had a brief moment of candor.

“We f – – k everyone,” Navarro said.

He wasn't kidding.

That's my view from the eighth pole.

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