Maximum Security's owner fires trainer

Owner Gary West has removed Saudi Cup winner Maximum Security from indicted trainer Jason Servis

The owner of Maximum Security, winner of the world's richest horse race in Saudi Arabia, has fired trainer Jason Servis after he was indicted in a doping scheme.

Gary West has replaced Servis with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Servis was among 27 people charged earlier this week in a wide-ranging scheme to drug horses and cheat bettors in the $100 billion professional horse racing industry.

"Yesterday, Jason Servis, a trainer we have used for five years was indicted on multiple charges regarding using an illegal substance in horses. This news is extremely disturbing and disappointing," West said in a statement.

Servis' lawyer Todd Onore told Reuters in an email he had no comment on the dismissal of his client.

According to US prosecutors, Servis covertly administered performance-enhancing drugs to Maximum Security and "virtually all of the racehorses under his control".

Maximum Security, who last month won the $20 million Saudi Cup, finished first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby but was later disqualified for interference. West filed an appeal but it was denied by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Baffert is one of racing's most celebrated trainers and has won the Triple Crown twice with American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).