France Horseracing and Training Elite Faces Doping Scandals and Arrests

Members of France’s biggest racehorse-training family and over a dozen other persons of interest have been arrested after the police found possible evidence that they may have been involved in doping and fraud. The news comes from daily media, Le Parisien, which details the case and investigation.

The arrests were conducted by the country’s Service Central Des Courses et Jeux (SCCJ), which investigates gambling offenses and crime. Among the arrested persons of interest were Cedric, Charley, and Frederic Rossi who were apprehended at their training base in Calas, Marseilles, and represent one of the biggest horseracing families in the country.

More people have been detained, including Charley Rossi’s spouse, Italian jockey Jessica Marcialis, along with 11 other people who may have assisted the family, including trainers, jockeys, and veterinary surgeons.

The news has sent ripples across the horseracing community in France as the Rossis are held in high esteem as they have a legacy of training some of the best horses in history.

The family managed to win $940,000 from the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October with Sealiway, a horse that the family bred and trained. Prior to that, Sealiway placed fifth in Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, largely considered as Europe’s most prestigious race. Frederic Rossi has managed to win over €2.5 million ($4.89 million) in 2021.

Recent Successes and Horse Deaths Give Investigators a Lead

Marcialis also won the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp with Tiger Tanaka, another one of the family’s trained steeds. Based on Le Parisien reporting, authorities began looking into the family, both because of their most recent successes and also the fact that some horses had died on the racetrack, or in training.

The investigation reportedly continued for a period of ten months and involved many watchdogs, including France Galop, a regulator that is fully dedicated to tackling doping in the industry.

Some $11 million go in preventative measures to try and catch cases of doping and act as a natural deterrent to such attempts. France Galop alone administers some 30,000 doping tests a year to preserve the integrity of the sport.

The fate of the family and other suspects is now in the hands of Marseilles police and investigators from the SCCJ who are confident they have enough to press on with the arrests. Some of the apprehended people, though, may only be assisting the police as witnesses, a source told Radio France Internationale (RFI).

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