A Carmel veterinarian is facing federal charges for his alleged role in an international conspiracy to produce illegal performance-enhancing drugs and administer them to racehorses in the U.S. and abroad.
Gregory Skelton is charged with misbranding conspiracy for allegedly illegally manufacturing customized PEDs, including an analgesic and a joint block. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.
The indictment claims that at least one of Skelton’s misbranded and adulterated drugs was intended for XY Jet, a thoroughbred horse that won the 2019 Golden Shaheen race in Dubai. XY Jet’s January death of an apparent heart attack is under investigation.
Skelton owns Skelton Equine Sports Medicine, a business registered in Carmel. According to Skelton’s LinkedIN profile, the company provides sports medicine and surgery for equine athletes and offers “recommendations to owners and trainers to maximize the health and potential of each animal.”
A voicemail left for Skelton seeking comment was not returned as of press time.
Federal prosecutors unsealed four indictments March 9 charging 27 people for their roles in a conspiracy that U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman described as the “largest ever of its kind.” They allege that the defendants manufactured, distributed and administered the drugs to help race horses perform beyond their natural ability, putting their health at risk.
“These defendants engaged in this conduct not for the love of the sport, and certainly not out of concern for the horses, but for money,” Berman stated in a press release. “It was the racehorses that paid the price for the defendants’ greed.”
Affected races took place in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky and the United Arab Emirates, prosecutors stated. They allege the conspiracy included the doping of racehorse Maximum Security, who crossed the finish line first at the 2019 Kentucky Derby but was disqualified for interference.
The FBI New York Joint Eurasian Organized Crime Task force, New York State Police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FDA and DEA partnered on the investigation.