An administrative law judge in Florida has recommended trainer Kirk Ziadie be suspended six years and fined $18,000 for 18 medication violations over a 2 1/2-year period from July 2012 to December 2014.
Two consolidated complaints for multiple positive tests for clenbuterol against Ziadie came before administrative law judge F. Scott Boyd, who recently issued a recommendation in a parallel hearing – not directly related to this case – that Ziadie should not be denied a license renewal by the Department of Business Regulations Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. In the latter case, Boyd ruled that chain of custody procedures of blood samples by DPMW employees in the post-race test barn did not comply with state law.
In this case, however, even with blood samples ruled inadmissible, the state was able to rely on frozen urine samples that were re-tested by the Racing Laboratory at the University of Florida to prove that horses raced for Ziadie with clenbuterol in their system.
Attorneys for Ziadie argued that the laboratory and DPMW officials changed the level at which clenbuterol positives were called, something officials acknowledged while saying that any presence of clenbuterol on raceday was a violation of the state's drug rules. There was a huge spike in positives for the drug in 2012 and '13. Ziadie also argued he was the subject of “selective and discriminatory prosecution” motivated by a 2012 investigative article in Miami New Times entitled “Cheaters Prosper at Calder” that mentioned Ziadie specifically and was critical of the DPMW.
Boyd was not persuaded by those arguments.
“The number of repetitions of offenses was significant and indicates a pattern or practice rather than an occasional oversight,” Boyd wrote in the Dec. 15 recommended order. “Repeated drug offenses have a direct impact on the integrity of the pari-mutuel industry.
“Clenbuterol, while a drug with therapeutic value, also has adverse effects, and excessive use presents a danger to racing thoroughbreds.”
Ziadie has been leading trainer at all of South Florida's racetracks but has not started a horse since June 2015, when his trainer's license expired and he was denied a renewal by the DPMW. From 2002-15, he's trained 762 winners from 2,716 starters for earnings of $14.4 million, mostly in Florida. He was banned from Calder by track officials from 2009-11.
Bradford Beilly, attorney for Ziadie, could not be reached for comment.
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