Via Bill Finley
Louis Grasso, a veterinarian serving the racing industry and one of 29 individuals indicted in March 2020 for his role in a racehorse doping ring, pleaded guilty at in federal court Wednesday before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel. He was charged with one count of drug mixing and conspiracy to misbrand, a felony and could face up to five years in prison.
Prosecutors allege that Grasso’s doping led to corrupt coaches raking in more than $47 million in “illegitimate winnings.”
He will be sentenced on September 6.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District Court published the plea, which, in a press release, also on the occasion commented on the guilty plea made last month from belt harness trainer Richard Banca.
“Grasso and Banca represent the corruption and greed of those in the racing industry who want to win at any cost,” said US Attorney Damian Williams. “By selling illegal drugs and selling prescriptions to corrupt trainers, Louis Grasso has abdicated his responsibility as a medical professional to ensure the safety and health of his children. racehorse that he ‘treats.’ By injecting his horses with unnecessary and sometimes unknown drugs, Grasso risked the lives and welfare of the animals in his care, all with the aim of helping those in need. Corrupt racehorse trainers like Banca pickpocket their pockets by scam. These latest allegations demonstrate the commitment of this Office and of our partners at the FBI to holding individuals accountable for seeking to profit from animal abuse and deception.”
In Grasso’s indictment, the government portrayed him as a central figure in a scheme to produce, distribute, and receive adulterated and mislabeled PEDs administered for horses. The government accused Grasso and others of delivering and receiving “at least thousands” of units of PED issued by pharmacies under invalid prescriptions.
According to the indictment, Grasso was manufacturing and/or selling “epogen,” a joint pain reliever, a bronchodilator, and a substance called “red acid.” Red acid is believed to reduce inflammation in the joints.
It appears that Grasso’s doping may have been restricted to racing exploits as the indictment does not mention any illegal activities related to thoroughbred racing.
Grasso is among four individuals participating in harness racing included in an indictment that also lists coaches Conor Flynn, Donato Poliseno and Thomas Guido III. Poliseno and Guido are scheduled to be tried on June 27. Flynn has cooperated with the government and recently testified against Lisa Gianelli, who was found guilty of misbranding and mixing drugs.