Ziadie Fighting Denial of License in Florida

by | 09.20.2015 | 7:28pm

Trainer Kirk Ziadie is fighting an Aug. 26 decision by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to deny his occupational license application because of what the regulatory agency said were three medication violations – two overages of phenylbutazone and one clenbuterol positive – earlier this year.

Ziadie, who won at a 49 percent clip (22 wins from 45 starts) to be leading trainer at the 2015 spring Gulfstream Park meeting, was notified of the license denial by letter from Jonathan R. Zachem, director of the Department of Business and Professional Regulations' Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. Zachem cited the three alleged positives, all at Gulfstream Park: Acclaimed Racing Stable's Get Creative, winner of the third race on Feb. 6, was found to have a concentration of phenylbutazone at 3.4 micrograms per milliliter, compared with a threshold of 2 micrograms per milliliter; Averill Racing LLC's At Large, winner of the first race April 24, tested at 2.3 micrograms per milliliter for phenylbutazone; and Averill Racing LLC's Creative License, winner of the seventh race May 9, was found to have a concentration of 8.9 picograms per milliliter of clenbuterol. Phenylbutazone is a class 4 drug and clenbuterol class 3 drug under the Association of Racing Commissioners International's Uniform Classification Guidelines.

Under Chapter 550 of Florida statute, “and the rules promulgated thereto,” Zachem wrote, “the division may deny … any occupational license if the applicant for or holder thereof has violated the provisions of this chapter or the rules of the division…”

Ziadie has five other pending clenbuterol positives and one phenylbutazone overage in 2012 filed against him that his attorney, Bradford Beilly, is contesting on his behalf. In addition, Ziadie has been charged with 13 clenbuterol positives in 2013 and three phenylbutazone overages in 2014, according to an administrative complaint.

An administrative hearing on those cases, which began in August, is scheduled to continue this week in a Broward County courtroom. According to court records, Drs. Thomas Tobin and David Barker were to testify as expert witnesses on Ziadie's behalf.

Beilly has petitioned the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings for an evidentiary hearing on the license denial. Beilly said that on May 29, 2015, Ziadie submitted a “fully complete license renewal application” that was due to expire on June 30. The Pari-Mutuel Division took no action on the renewal and allowed the license to expire, Beilly said, waiting nearly three months after his renewal application was filed to deny him a license.

“The denial affects petitioner's substantial interests as he cannot earn a living as a horse trainer without an occupational license issued by the Division,” Beilly wrote.

Beilly said Ziadie is disputing “the alleged fact that the blood samples tested actually came from horses trained by petitioner Ziadie. Petitioner Ziadie also disputes the implicitly alleged fact that the blood samples were properly collected, stored and tested” in accordance with the rules.

Furthermore, Ziadie is alleging, the regulators are relying on a 28-page document from 2010, titled “Equine Detention Barn Manual,” that was never properly adopted by the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.”

“Accordingly … the alleged test results from Feb. 6, 2015, April 24, 2015, and May 9, 2015, are not violations of Fla. Statu. 550.2415(1)(a) and the Division should therefore grant Petitioner Ziadie's application for a pari-mutuel professional individual occupational license.

Ziadie, who has been training since 2002, has 762 career wins from 2,716 starts, and his horses have earned nearly $14.5 million. He's won training titles at Tampa Bay Downs, Calder Race Course and Gulfstream. He's also had  numerous medication violations and was banned by Calder race course from 2009-11.

Sally Mitchelhill, a former exercise rider for Ziadie who was a full-time jockey in 2007, winning 58 races from 603 mounts, has taken over Ziadie's stable. She has won four races, with nine seconds and seven thirds, from 42 starts since July 1.

  • Quinnbt

    49% wins to 9% wins in his absence??

  • Horses first

    Ziadie should be banned for 10 years. He brings disrepute to horse racing and has no respect for the rules. 9 pending positives.

    • Erin Casseday

      How about for life. Make the rules harsh. Stick to them. Trainers will clean up there act or be out of business.

  • Tinky

    For some perspective, his win percentage for the meet was roughly three times that of Woody Stephens and Charlie Whittingham’s lifetime percentages.

    Or, put another way, Hay, Oats and W…TF?

    • Concerned Observer

      If the horses too were given a year off after a major violation, the horse owners would clean this situation up pronto. No owner pain, no resolution.

    • Michael Castellano

      That win percentage alone should tell you something. I suspect that he gives these drugs to all his horses and hopes that by race time they are cleared out, but has also found that cutting the drugs as close to race day as possible pays off, at least up until now. But no one, even rubber stamp stewards, could ignore that high a win %. And some wonder why the gamblers think racing is often not on the level.

  • morethanready

    He is taking the Ryan Braun approach- lets go after the collector. His legacy will be one of a cheater as well.

  • Peyton

    “The denial affects petitioner’s substantial interests as he cannot earn a living as a horse trainer without an occupational license issued by the Division,” Beilly wrote. Maybe it should have stated “he cannot earn a living as a person that drugs horses to enhance their performance and he just got too close to the envelope which caused the alleged positives”. But that’s just my opinion of the article. Hope the FLA regulators stick with their guns on this one and show the rest of the people whose horses test positive, that their is a real consequence for their actions. Other state regulators should follow suit. They all have the ability to deny license for this reason.

  • ben van den brink

    If true, just a lifetime ban will help.

  • Richard C

    Let me take a guess — it is all a misunderstanding due to mislabeled bottles and a disgruntled former employee.

    • Chancey Gardner

      It was the poppyseed bagel, I’m sure.

    • handfist

      The groom went pee in the stall.

  • Judith Van Doren

    Seems Ziadie’s reasons given are ways to get around what has been learned from the testing. Something doesn’t seem right, and it is coming from Ziadie.

  • Were watching

    Another super trainer ready for the scrap heap, file under cheater. Clean it up, get em out of here.

  • FastBernieB

    Ziadie’s transgressions speak for themselves and he should be banned for life – no question about it. The fact that they’re still dealing with positives from 2012 speaks volumes about what’s wrong with racing.

    • Concerned Observer

      3 years? Too long! Right or wrong, make a decision in 6 months tops. Move on!

      • ben van den brink

        They stay fighting and delaying, can easily become five yrs, but now with the denial from the licence things will run swiftly.now

    • Chancey Gardner

      Amen!! Amen!! There needs to be zero tolerance for this behavior.

  • Racing Fan

    The owners who employ a gip cheat like Zaidie is what’s wrong with the game.

    • Erin Casseday


  • Michael Infurna

    Lifetime 30% wins?? He should fit right in at Parx with the guys who get nickel claimers and maiden 10 claimers to run 100 beyers!!

  • togahombre

    the real question is why it only took 25 positives to get the state regulators attention

    • Erin Casseday

      True that!

  • Racing Fan

    I’m surprised Robert Cole hasn’t called Kirk yet. Cole is now doing business with John Carlisle. Read his rap sheet at owner view. As shady as they come.

  • Dee R. Eff

    A clenbuterol positive and five more pending. Clearly trains on the stuff as do most trainers. Clearly it’s not used as a bronchial dilator but for building lean muscle mass, and clearly it works as a performance enhancer. Yet we continue to allow it with not even a thought of banning it as it has been in many quarter horse jurisdictions.
    With the big horse taking a few months to train up to the Classic, wait till he hits the track in the post parade. Fans will be in awe of how muscled up he is. And he won’t be the only one.

    • Chancey Gardner

      Too bad they don’t do a red blood cell count …

      • Dee R. Eff

        Bob would have to scratch all his big horses.

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